33 answers

Anesthesia for Dental Work or Laser Dentistry?

My 4-year old has a few cavities that need to be filled. When we took him in he got scared and refused to let the dentist numb his teeth (even though he does great with cleanings). The dentist now wants to put him out under light anesthesia to fill the cavities. I'm a little bit freaked out about it. Has anyone else had to have their child put under for dental work? If so, how did it go and did you think it was worth it? (Our insurance will only cover half the cost.)

Also, I've heard a lot about laser dentistry. A neighbor said her son had his cavities taken care of with a laser which required no anesthesia but was "uncomfortable." Do any of you (or your children) have experience with this type of treatment?

Thank you!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Our son had his sedated dentistry done this morning and it was a very good thing because things were worse than they appeared and it took longer and was more complicated. He's doing fine now and I'm very happy we took this route. Thanks again.

Featured Answers

Have you looked for a pediatric dentist. I know that there are several out there that only take little guys/gals. The staff there is specially trained to get them to open up.

1 mom found this helpful

My son is 9 and was fearful of the dentist when he needed a cavity filled. The dentist suggested anesthesia. It didn't "put him under." Instead, it was just a mask with a light anesthesia that helped him to relax. Things went great! My older son wishes the doctor had an anesthesia mask for when he needs to get shots!


My very wonderful pediatric dentist recommended the liquid medicine versed. Its a very low dose of something similar to valium and my son would get a little loopy then was fine with whatever the dentist had to do. Also, he uses nitrous but only over the nose and its such a low dose they don't fall asleep.

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Hey K.,

My husband is a dentist and I've worked in a dental office for years. Are you talking about IV sedation, or oral medication? I assume IV sedation since you're talking about insurance. With IV sedation if anything goes wrong they already have the IV line to administer reversal drugs. With oral medication they have to wait for the effects to wear off. I've never seen anyone have problems with either, however there is alway a small risk with any anesthetic. They will be careful and hook him up to a pulse-ox machine so they know if he starts having any problems.

I'm sure he will be fine. The nice thing about sedating him is the drugs will have an amnesia effect on him and he probably won't remember anything about the appointment. This is great for kids who are scared so they don't develop a phobia of the dentist! Good Luck.


2 moms found this helpful

I agree with Melissa...anything you can do to make it a more pleasant experience! Im sure you have done your homework on the subject and honestly, I might do the same for my little guy. He wouldn't even open his mouth to let her count his teeth without a bribe...flat out refused the cleaning. Soooo...if the next try is a strike-out we'll consider the same path. It's really the best option...you know the cavities will become painful without treatment, so better to do everything you can to get it taken care of.

1 mom found this helpful

My know 6 year old son had to be put unser when he was 3-4 for major reconstructive work, and my husband felt the same way, I just didn't want him to have any fears of the dentist, like I do, actually I am terrified! It wasn't bad he did great the only thing taht happened was he got sick to his stomache about an hour after it was done, and then he was his normal self, there can always be complications but it is very minimal and will help your son not to be afraid, I would do it agian!

1 mom found this helpful

Have you looked for a pediatric dentist. I know that there are several out there that only take little guys/gals. The staff there is specially trained to get them to open up.

1 mom found this helpful

My 5yo has had dental work done under three conditions, laughing gas, general anesthetic (asleep), and then just with the shot of novocaine. She had the general anesthetic when she was just 3, she had about 6 cavities, and her pediatric dentist recommended going that route. It was great, she didn't have any pain, and she was fine. A while ago she had 5 cavities filled while under laughing gas and the novocaine. My DH took her in that time, and he said she did ok, she almost fell asleep while on the gas. She didn't freak out when they had to give her the shot of novocaine. Then just a couple weeks ago, she had an infected molar, and had to get it extracted. Her pediatric dentist was closed, so I had to get her an emergency appointment somewhere else. I didn't even think to ask, but they didn't offer laughing gas. It was a horrible experience. She freaked out during the x-rays (they make her gag) Then when they put the q-tip with the numbing gel in her mouth, she started crying and saying it was stinging. Then she got the shot, which was another ordeal, with her screaming. Then during the extraction itself, she was screaming at the top of her lungs, trying to get out of the chair, and it took several people to hold her still. It was so traumatic for both of us. She cried all the way home from the dentist. DH cried too, actually. The only way I have talked her into going back (she has a cleaning in a couple weeks) is by telling her that this time she will get to see her dentist, and not have to go to that one again.
So that's our experience, I am doing the laughing gas at least, every time from now on for her.

When my daughter was almost 7 we opted to put her under to fix her 8 cavities (one ended up being a crown, so I was very glad we went this route.) I too was very nervous about giving her anesthesia, but she has anxiety and I knew that I would never get her to the dentist again if we had them do it in the office. Everything went really smoothly and the dentist said he actually can do better work this way, because the child isn't wiggling and feeling stress. My daughter still has no fear of the dentist so that is worth it to me. ( I think I have more anxiety about the dentist than she does!) I know the cost is expensive, I was calling the office frequently asking about why it cost soo much. But I think if you can afford it, it is worth it in the long run.

My now 8 year old son has a form of arthritis that makes it very uncomfortable for him to open his mouth wide enough for dental procedures. He has been put under anesthesia 3 times now for dental work. He has done very well waking up and we have been very happy with it. They should require a full history and physical from your pediatrician before using anesthesia though (if it's general or iv sedation) This is just a precaution to rule out any known reasons your child may have difficulty with sedation. I wish you the best of luck and will be thinking of you.


Have you tried taking him to a pediatric dentist? My daughter freaked out when the regular dentist tried to numb her for a cavity, but was better with the pediatric dentist. She even got to watch a movie while they did it! She was still scared the first time, but it was a breeze after that. I've taken my daughter to Dr. Melissa Morrow in Haslett.

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