Three Frequently Employed Dental Sedation Methods in Pediatric Dentistry


Children are not always the easiest patients to work with, which is why dental sedation methods are often employed in pediatric dentistry. Dental sedation helps to calm and relax a child so that they can sit still during their dental procedure. There are three main types of dental sedation that are used on children: oral conscious sedation, nitrous oxide gas sedation, and IV sedation. Each type of sedation has its own set of benefits and risks, which will be explored in more detail below. If you’re looking for a way to help your child feel more comfortable during their next dental appointment, read on to learn about these three frequently employed dental sedation methods in pediatric dentistry.

Nitrous Oxide

When it comes to dental sedation for children, nitrous oxide is one of the most commonly used methods. Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a type of gas that is inhaled through a mask. It works by relaxing the patient and making them feel less anxious about their dental procedure. The effects of nitrous oxide typically wear off within a few minutes after the gas is no longer being inhaled.

Nitrous Oxide Sedation
Nitrous Oxide Sedation

Oral Sedation

Most children are cooperative during dental procedures when given the opportunity to sit in the dental chair and watch what the dentist is doing. However, some children may have an innate fear of going to the dentist or may have had a previous bad experience that has made them anxious about future dental appointments. For these children, one of the three most common types of sedation used in pediatric dentistry may be employed: nitrous oxide/oxygen inhalation sedation, oral conscious sedation, or general anesthesia.

Nitrous oxide/oxygen inhalation sedation is a type of conscious sedation that relaxes patients while they remain awake and aware of their surroundings. The gas is administered through a small mask placed over the patient’s nose and oxygen is also given through the mask to maintain safe blood oxygen levels. This type of sedation is easily reversible and patients usually recover quickly once the procedure is completed and they are no longer inhaling the gas.

Oral conscious sedation involves giving the child a pill to take by mouth before their appointment. The medication will make them drowsy and they may even fall asleep during their procedure. However, they can still be easily awakened if necessary and will be able to remember very little about their experience after it is over. Recovery time from oral conscious sedation can vary depending on how deep of a sleep was induced and how long the procedure lasted.

General anesthesia is used for more involved procedures or for patients who cannot tolerate any other type

IV Sedation

There are three primary types of dental sedation that are used in pediatric dentistry: general anesthesia, IV sedation, and nitrous oxide. General anesthesia is the most invasive form of sedation and is typically only used in very young children or children with special needs. IV sedation is a less invasive form of sedation that uses medication administered through a vein to help your child relax. Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” is a gas that you breathe in through a mask to help you relax.

IV sedation is often used for children who are anxious about dental procedures or who have a low tolerance for pain. The medication used for IV sedation can help your child to feel more relaxed and can sometimes make them sleepy. Your child will remain awake during the procedure but may not be able to remember what happened afterwards. A trained professional will administer the IV sedation and will continuously monitor your child throughout the procedure.

If you think that your child may benefit from IV sedation, talk to their pediatric dentist about all of the available options.


There are a variety of dental sedation methods available for pediatric patients, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The three most commonly used methods are nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation. The best method for any particular child depends on the child’s age, health history, level of anxiety, and other factors. Your pediatric dentist will be able to help you determine which method is best for your child.

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