Is dental sedation safe for children?

Posted Sep 19th, 2019 in Helpful Tips for Parents, General Information, Pediatric Dentistry

Is dental sedation safe for children?

Your Burnaby Smile Town dentist may recommend sedation for your child if they are scheduled to undergo a long complex dental procedure, or if your child is very young, nervous or has special needs. Dental sedation is a safe way for children to receive dental treatment that would otherwise be too stressful or even impossible for them to undergo. 


Parents can feel uneasy about their child being sedated in order to receive dental treatment. Our children's dentists are often asked if dental sedation is safe for children.

Yes, when done by trained and experienced dental professional, sedation and anesthesia are a safe way for children to receive the necessary and critical dental healthcare they need.

For many children a visit to the dentist can be frightening and extremely stressful. Sedation can play a key role when it comes to providing children with a positive dental experience, by reducing the stress and anxiety of  levels of a particularly nervous child.

Types of Sedation for Children

There are 3 types of sedation commonly used for children:

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous Oxide, often called laughing gas, can help to calm young patients who are feeling anxious, nervous or frightened. This form of dental sedation is delivered via a face mask. Within a few minutes of breathing in the nitrous oxide the patient will begin to relax and experience euphoric feelings. Nitrous Oxide will not make the patient unconscious or impair their reflexes.  Once the dental procedure is complete the patient will be given pure oxygen to clear any remaining nitrous oxide from their system.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral sedation will be given to the patient when they first arrive for their appointment since it can take 20 minutes to take effect. There are a number of medications that can be taken by mouth or through the nose oral to achieve oral conscious sedation. Your Burnaby Smile Town children's dentist will recommend the most appropriate oral sedation medication for your child, and is always happy to answer any questions that you might have about the sedation or the procedure. 

Oral sedation may make the patient drowsy enough to dose off during the procedure but isn't used to make the patient unconscious. It isn't uncommon for patients for have no memory of the dental procedure once the sedation wears off.

General Anesthesia

For our patients with serious behavioural challenges, special needs, limited understanding and/or with high pain sensitivity our dentists may recommend general anesthesia.

General anesthesia will cause the patient to become unconscious so that their reflexes are completely relaxed. Patients will not feel pain during the procedure or have any memory of the procedure once they wake.

At Smile Town in Burnaby your child's safety and comfort are our priority. Our team has extensive training in dental sedation for children.

If you have questions about dental sedation for children, contact our Burnaby children's dentist. 

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