Nitrous Oxide

If you are a patient who gets sweaty palms and a racing heart when you think of having dental treatment, you have a lot of company. About one-third of Americans report having dental anxiety or a fear of the dentist.

Our dentists, Dr. Lawrence Michnick, Dr. Christopher Takacs and Dr. Kristen Mazzei, have introduced a solution that makes going to the dentist a more comfortable experience for our nervous patients. Sedation dentistry in Ocean City, Maryland, opens the door for patients who have put off treatment or those who just want to relax completely for their procedure.

Sedation dentistry is new to many people, so we’ve collected some of the questions we hear most frequently and shared them here. If you have others you don’t see here or are ready to make an appointment, please call Atlantic Dental Cosmetic & Family Dentistry at 410-213-7575, and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.

What Is Sedation Dentistry?
If you have a habit of postponing routine appointments because of fear, sedation dentistry at our dental office is your ticket to a relaxing and stress-free experience. Fortunately, we offer sedation with nitrous oxide in our office, which gives us a way to help our fearful or apprehensive patients to get the essential oral health care they need.

What Is the Benefit of Sedation Dentistry?
How many times have you missed an appointment or delayed dental treatment because you do not like going to the dentist? You know that these problems do not go away on their own, and delaying treatment for your oral conditions allows them to worsen. This eventually leads to the need for more costly and complex dental procedures in the future.

Sedation dentistry allows you to relax enough so you can keep your appointments and get the essential care you need. Using sedation, our team can help you avoid unnecessary dental emergencies and tooth loss by making dentistry easier and more comfortable.

What Causes Dental Anxiety?
People develop dental anxiety for several reasons. Many anxious patients had a negative experience in childhood and still carry that fear with them as adults. Another common reason patients put off appointments is because they don’t like the sounds and smells of a dental office or they fear injections. Others simply do not like the feeling that they don’t have control over the situation.

Whether it was a painful procedure, feeling helpless in the dental chair or a dentist who didn’t listen when you said it hurt, we want to reassure you that you will have a different experience at our office.

You are always in charge of your appointment while you are here, and we will take the time necessary to get to know you so that we understand your dental history and how we can best take care of you. If you have dental anxiety, we offer solutions to help you feel relaxed and calm at your next appointment.

What Is Nitrous Oxide?
Nitrous oxide is a mild type of sedation that enters the system through a comfortable nose mask and is safe for most patients. We blend it with oxygen and can control the level of sedation easily to ensure your comfort. One of the reasons patients choose nitrous oxide is because it is short-lived, making it possible for you to drive and to resume your normal schedule right away.

Because it is so safe, we can even use nitrous oxide to help kids relax while they receive their treatment.

How Do You Administer Nitrous Oxide?
Nitrous oxide is also referred to as inhalation sedation. Our team will help you get settled comfortably in your chair and place a small, comfortable mask over your nose. They start a flow of nitrous oxide mixed with oxygen, and all you have to do is continue to inhale normally.

Within a few moments, you will notice the calming effects and feel fully relaxed. However, you will remain conscious and able to communicate with your team as needed. Our team will keep checking in with you during your procedure to see how you are doing and if we need to increase or decrease the level of nitrous oxide.

When your appointment is over, we turn off the flow of nitrous oxide and allow you to breathe pure oxygen for several minutes. When you are ready to leave our office, you will feel relaxed, refreshed and ready to go on with your day with no lingering aftereffects.

How Will Nitrous Oxide Make Me Feel?
Often referred to as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is an inhaled form of sedation, and it is the mildest form of sedation we offer. It will make you feel a bit drowsy and mildly euphoric while the sights and sounds around you fade into the background.

Nitrous oxide is so safe and well-tolerated that we even use it on kids to help relax them for their dental appointment.

What Are the Side Effects of Nitrous Oxide?
Nitrous oxide starts to take effect after a few inhalations and leaves your system within a few moments of discontinuing it. That makes it ideal for patients who do not want to feel groggy for the rest of the day, but who need a little help relaxing for their appointment.

Side effects are minimal and may include light-headedness and mild nausea. If you begin to feel nauseated, just let us know, and we can adjust the flow so that the feeling goes away.

Who Should Not Have Nitrous Oxide?
Nitrous oxide is safe enough for children, but it is not recommended for patients who are pregnant. Please let us know if you are pregnant before your dental appointment so we can avoid using nitrous oxide.

If you wish to use this sedation method, you must make us aware in advance when scheduling your next appointment.

Do You Offer Full Sedation Dentistry?
At this time, we do not provide this level of sedation. However, we highly recommend Dr. Edward Dougherty who does offer full sedation. You may contact him at

As you can see, we have thought of just about everything to make your experience at our dental office more pleasant and stress-free than you ever thought possible. Contact us today at 410-213-7575 to get started!

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