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Certain patients have pre-existing conditions that make it difficult to receive dental care. Others suffer from dental anxiety, which makes visiting the dentist a stressful or even traumatic experience. Dr. Brian J. Hockel provides both nitrous oxide and general anesthesia, to help you feel more comfortable during your visit.

Experience dentistry without the fear

At Dr. Hockel’s office we want all of our patients to be able to feel safe and comfortable while receiving the top-notch oral care they deserve. Consequently, we offer conscious sedation dentistry in the form of nitrous oxide for patients who need or desire a calming experience during treatment.

Option 1 – General Anesthesia

Many patients can benefit from the use of general anesthesia. Our anesthesiologist is able to make the whole experience as quick and comfortable as possible. Ask us how you can “sleep” through the whole procedure and wake up when we’re done, or click here for more information.

Option 2 – Nitrous Oxide

Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is more commonly used than general anesthesia, and is administered through a mask that covers the nose, producing a calming effect. It relaxes a person, easing any fear and increasing the level of comfort.  The time goes by faster and easier!

Nitrous oxide diminishes your perception of discomfort, although it alone does not offer any numbing effects. You will likely still require a local anesthetic to numb the area needing treatment. All normal reflexes remain intact, and you can continue to communicate with the people around you even as the gas is administered.

Can my child receive nitrous oxide?

Yes!  Children can receive nitrous oxide and it can help many of them tremendously.  Scheduling an appointment early in the morning when the child is “fresh,” and using nitrous oxide can generally make for the best experience.  For some pediatric patients, however, nausea can be a side effect at times. If we plan to use nitrous oxide on your child for a procedure, please make sure he or she has little to no food before arriving at the office.


How long do the effects last?

The effects of nitrous oxide quickly subside once the flow of the gas is turned off, and you receive pure oxygen through the mask.  It’s OK to drive a vehicle both before and after using nitrous oxide.

Am I a candidate for nitrous or general anesthesia?

Many patients avoid going to the dentist because of dental anxiety. In fact, sometimes their fears or anxiety about going to the dentist prevent them from seeking dental care for years. This avoidance only leads to a rapid decline of oral health, resulting in extensive treatments.

General anesthesia provides the best way to completely miss the experience of undergoing dental treatment, and involves an in-office anesthesiologist.

Nitrous oxide can help patients with conditions such as the following:

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Jaw discomfort or problem controlling muscles for a prolonged period
  • Gag reflex
  • A need for several lengthy dental procedures

If you are pregnant or allergic to nitrous oxide, you are not a good candidate for nitrous oxide.

We strive to make the dental experience as pleasant as possible for each of our patients. Contact our office at (925) 934-3434 to learn more about nitrous oxide and make your appointment with our dentists.

Life Dental & Orthodontics is proud to serve patients in Walnut Creek, Clayton, Concord, and Lafayette, California, as well as the San Francisco East Bay area and beyond.

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