Is Sedation Dentistry Safe for Children?

By February 3, 2022June 3rd, 2022No Comments

child undergoing dental sedation

Dental anxiety is fear or a feeling of nervousness revolving around the dentist. Dental sedation is often used to help patients experiencing dental fear, but it can also be beneficial for long procedures, for additional pain relief, or for patients with sensitive gag reflexes or issues sitting in the dental chair for an extended period. It’s often used to help adults deal with dental fear, but is sedation dentistry safe for children, too? Read on to learn more about sedation dentistry and if it’s a safe way for your little one to feel more comfortable during their appointments.

So, Is Sedation Dentistry Safe for Children?

Sedation dentistry is a proven way of relieving anxiety for patients who feel nervous or fearful about visiting the dentist. It’s safe for patients of all ages and allows them to receive the high-quality, dependable dental care they need to keep their smile looking and functioning as intended.

In 2019, both the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics updated their requirements for professionals providing children with general anesthesia or deep dental sedation. These updates state that at least two people need to be present in the treatment room throughout treatment. This includes a dentist or oral surgeon and a dentist anesthesiologist or a certified registered nurse anesthetist. These new requirements provide children with an additional layer of protection as well as ensure that advanced life support measures can be quickly administered in the rare event that problems arise.


Types of Sedation Dentistry

The kind of sedation your child is given will depend on their medical history, unique needs, the dental work they’re preparing to undergo, and how bad their dental anxiety is. The types of sedation they may be offered include:

  • Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) – This fast-acting, minimally invasive form of dental sedation is administered through a mask that will be placed over your little one’s nose. They will be told to breathe in a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen to help them relax.
  • IV sedation – This is much stronger than nitrous oxide and is administered through an IV. This form of sedation is generally used for patients dealing with extreme dental anxiety and helps them enter a deep state of relaxation.
  • Oral conscious sedation – Little ones who are extremely anxious or young may have difficulty cooperating during dental appointments. Oral conscious sedation involves taking medication prior to a procedure and is s safe way for them to get the treatment they need. It dulls their senses so they feel calm throughout treatment. They will remain awake and conscious during their visit, but it’s not uncommon for them to fall asleep on their own.


Regardless of which form of sedation your child undergoes, their vital signs will be closely monitored throughout treatment to ensure that they are safe and comfortable. This way, your child can safely receive the treatment they need to achieve a healthy, happy smile anxiety-free!


About the Practice

Wondering if sedation dentistry is safe for children? Children’s Dental Specialty can answer any questions you have. Their talented team takes pride in helping little ones feel safe and comfortable during their appointments so they can make their way toward gorgeous, healthy grins. To make an appointment with Children’s Dental Specialty or for more information on their service offerings, call their Scottsdale office at (480) 944-9668, their Phoenix office at (480) 944-9809, or visit their website.

Dr. Veronica

Author Dr. Veronica

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