I need to have a wisdom tooth pulled out and a root canal treatment but am paranoid about both procedures, particularly about getting general anaesthesia. Any other solution?

You are not alone! Many patients put off going to the dentist out of fear of the needle or the sound of the drill and a whole lot of not-so-pleasant experiences.

I would recommend nitrous oxide sedation as a first step. Nitrous oxide or laughing gas is one of the safest ways to reduce anxiety in an apprehensive patient. It works almost instantaneously and what’s even better, it exits the body in about five minutes without leaving a trace. It’s non-addictive and doesn’t make you unconscious so you are still awake, but in a very calm and relaxed state.

Also, nitrous oxide doesn’t need any needles and you are absolutely fit to drive to go home immediately after the procedure. It reduces the gag reflex greatly so most dental procedures can be done more comfortably. And the biggest bonus is that it also suppresses pain to a large degree, which is very useful, for example, when you are doing wisdom tooth extractions. It’s also fairly inexpensive as it doesn’t require a dedicated anaesthetist and can be administered by the dentist. Some patients who have used nitrous oxide request its use for even routine procedures like a clean and polish because even unpleasant sounds and vibrations feel a lot more comfortable.

The downside of nitrous oxide is that it might not always be enough. Sometimes it might need to be supplemented with other oral medication to get a deeper level of sedation or sometimes an intravenous agent might need to be administered by an anaesthesiologist if nitrous alone is not enough. However, in this case the effect will last for a few hours and you probably will want someone to drive you back home because you might be feeling a bit groggy.

I would recommend having a consultation in a dental clinic which offers nitrous oxide sedation as a first step and if that doesn’t work you could always contact a hospital that has an anaesthesiologist and a dental facility to undergo the procedure under IV sedation.

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A little bit of care and technology and I am sure you can relax and drift through the procedure fear-free.

Tanveer Ahmed is an implantologist, dental surgeon and medical director at New Ivory Dental and Implant Clinic. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.