While you won't need it during your regularly scheduled cleaning or even to have a cavity filled, there are other times that your dentist will place a breathing apparatus under your nose to provide you with a flow of oxygen. If you haven't previously experienced this procedure, you might feel a little anxious when the dentist introduces you to this idea — especially if you're someone who already feels a little on edge when you visit the dentist. Fortunately, you've got nothing to worry about, and the use of oxygen may actually be something that you find pleasant. Here are three basic things to know about getting oxygen while at the dentist.
It Isn't Bothersome
If you start to feel anxious about the idea of a tube running across your upper lip and a noisepiece directing oxygen into both of your nostrils, it's important to relax. The use of oxygen won't bother you in any way. The flow of air into your nostrils is gentle, so it won't tickle or otherwise irritate you. In fact, you may hardly realize that the oxygen is in use, and by the time that the dental procedure wraps up, you may have to admit that you enjoyed the feeling of the air.
It Can Reduce Stress
Dental clinics give their patients oxygen for a number of reasons, including helping them to be relaxed. When you're stressed about a dental procedure, one of the ways that you'll often behave is to hold your breath or take shorter breaths. This habit is problematic because the less that you breathe, the more that you'll feel short of breath — and this can quickly cause you to feel panicked. A gentle and soothing flow of oxygen into your nose will ensure that your body is getting enough air, even if you're holding your breath a little. This can make a big impact on reducing your stress.
It's Important For Your Health
There are dental procedures that can be risky, and the use of oxygen helps to ensure that you aren't breathing in the dangerous by-products of the procedure. For example, if you're having a mercury filling removed for health reasons, the dentist will need to grind the filling material. He or she knows that microscopic bits of mercury can become airborne, and doesn't want you to breathe them in. Getting oxygen will ensure that you're breathing in this clean air, rather than inhaling deeply and perhaps taking in a substance that is harmful to you.