October 1, 2023


For a lot of children, going to the dentist is no walk in the park.  Some children are very anxious and afraid of the dentist.  It is an unfamiliar environment, and they don’t know what the dentist will be doing.  If your child is one of those who has a hard time going to the dentist and it becomes a battle, you are probably just as afraid to take your child to the dentist as they are.  No parent likes to put their child in a position that makes the scared or anxious.  Some parents wait until their kids are a lot older to go to the dentist, and by that time if your child has had a cavity, the work can be extensive and unpleasant for your now older child.  Luckily there is sedation, which is a solution to helping children at dental appointments for when they need work done.

Many parents hear the word sedation and they automatically think about their child on a table completely unconscious, that’s not always the case.  There are three different types of sedation Oral Conscious Sedation, Inhalation Sedation and General Anesthesia.  Each of these techniques are performed by a Doctor who is fully licensed and trained to administer they type of sedation, a licensed anesthesiologist performs the General Anesthesia.

Oral Conscious Sedation is taken by mouth or through the nose.  Your child will have this done shortly after you get to the dentists’ office; it takes about 20 minutes for the medications to take into effect. This will not put your child to sleep, it is only meant to help them relax and stay calm, and they will be able to communicate the whole time.

Inhalation Sedation, or as most people know it as “laughing gas,” also helps to keep your child calm and relaxed.  A mask will be placed over your child’s face that will deliver a combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen, usually with in five minutes your child will be relaxed.  After your child’s procedure is over, they will administer oxygen to help clear out remaining nitrous oxide.

General Anesthesia is given through an IV and is usually performed at a hospital rather than at your child’s dental office.  This technique will put your child to sleep completely and they will not remember a thing when they wake up, this technique is performed by a licensed anesthesiologist.

Many worry about the safety of sedation, but like I stated earlier as long as the dentist or anesthesiologist is fully licensed and trained in these sedation techniques. If your child is one of those who fears going to the dentist, discuss your options with your child’s dentist and they will be able to come up with a solution that will best suit your child. You can also visit the link on Baker Pediatrics website for Sedation.  You can also visit the links below to get more information.


  1. Sedation
  2. Is Dental Sedation Safe for Kids?
  3. Oral Sedation in Pediatric Dentistry

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