18 answers

Sedation Dental work...safe?

My son is 2.5 years old, and he has two HUGE caveties in his 2-year molars. He has to have crowns put on, and the dentist suggests either IV-sedation in his office or general anethesia at Children's Mercy. I have no idea how to choose or which one is safer etc.

The dentist said the caveties were a defect of the teeth...they formed inproperly when they came in. So, it is not a matter of poor hygeine or anything we could have done to prevent them.

Anyhow, my pediatritian gave us one opinion, but the office gave us a totally differnt one. I don't know what to do.

Anyone out there with similar experience?

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My grandson had the sedation at hospital was much easier, then dealing with a screaming kid trying to be sedated. The kids told me was very easy an xavier was a jewel on being sedated. Hope this helps. D.

My husband is a general dentist (adults & older children only) and be believes that CMH is the best care for little ones. I work at a law firm, and we had a malpractice case of sedation in an office that was mishandled. The child is now in an almost vegetative state. I am the mother of a 2 yr old, and for my money, you can't beat CMH. They are pros at all things medically related to children.

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Hi H.. My daughter had a cavity in one of her 1 year molars and had a cap put on when she was 20 mos. The dentist said that there was most likely a disturbance to the tooth when I was pregnant with her! We chose to have the general anesthesia at the hospital (Cox South in Springfield, MO). The hardest part was her waking up from the anesthesia. She was okay with having the mask put over her mouth to put her to sleep, she even was willing to sit on the bed instead of having me hold her- what a big girl!!! She cried pretty hard for around 30 min. after waking up, but then was fine- popsicles do wonders in a stressful situation! She did have cancker sores afterwards, that the dentist said was probably because of the stress it caused on her. It has been four months since the proceedure and other than the sores (they took about a week and a half to clear up), she has not had any problems, the cap/tooth doesn't seem to bother her at all. Good luck to you, whatever you decide.

My son, who was about 3 at the time, broke half of his front tooth during a treadmill accident at an aunts house! I didn't know she had a treadmill in one of her rooms that they kids were playing in during a holiday visit. Sure enough he took a fall and landed on his front teeth. We went to a local (Springfield) childrens dentist to get a crown and veneer(sp?) and they used a liquid before hand to calm him down and (I can't remember exactly what) something else during the procedure to keep him calm but he was awake. The cost wasn't too bad on it. I think we ended up paying $300-$400 on it. That is much cheaper than going to the hospital with IV sedation but the down side is the dentist said my son was really hard to work on and he cried through the entire procedure. Afterwards my son didn't remember a thing so that was good!

My now 4 & 6 yr olds both had surgery last year for some problems they had. I know it sounds like a waste of money to put crowns on but I would do it again in a heartbeat. Without taking care of the problem there will be toothaches, etc. If they get worse the tooth has to be pulled and a spacer has to be put in (my 6 yr old has one). We had our work done at CM and they used the "giggle juice". The whole experience went very well. The nurses explained everything to us so we knew what to expect and they were very good with the kids, which I'm sure can be nerve racking since they come out of the sedation and start crying. Like the other mom said - popsicles, jello and juice work wonders to stop the tears! We had a 2nd and 3rd opinion before doing the work and went with the doc who took his time to explain what was going on as the one to do the surgery. We switched to him for our pediatric dentistry because of the care we received throughout the whole process.

My husband is a general dentist (adults & older children only) and be believes that CMH is the best care for little ones. I work at a law firm, and we had a malpractice case of sedation in an office that was mishandled. The child is now in an almost vegetative state. I am the mother of a 2 yr old, and for my money, you can't beat CMH. They are pros at all things medically related to children.


All three of my children have had to have dental surgery to put caps on teeth due to genetic problems with their enamel. The older 2 we went with general anethesia at the hospital. The youngest was in office sedation. If we had is to do all over we would have gone the hospital route with the youngest. The older two have no problems with the dentist (they had the procedures done when they were 3 or 4 they are now 13 and 10) The younger one who was 4 when she had the work done and is now 6 is very aprehensive about going to the dentist. She thinks every time she goes in she is going to be sedated. As for the advice to just fill them or leave them. One if they could just be filled thats what they would do but the cavities are probably so big that the tooth would break, which means more money later on. Yes they are just baby teeth but they are there for a reason. To hold space and shape the jaws for the permanate teeth.

I would check with another dentist .I can't see spending $$$for Crowns on baby teeth, Unless, he is in severe pain leave them be.Wont they fall out at 5 years anyhow?? I'm Not sure.

Been there done that...
my family Dr (and friend) recommended we not do in office sedation. Stated that the dentist that do that are not prepared for emergencies such as breathing. So we opted for CMS and had a great experience with our dentist. Even the pediatric dentist we finally choose, won't do in office sedation like that. That was after interviewing about 5 other pediatric dentist in the KC area...
Hugs to you!

Hello H.! Don't worry about Children's Mercy if that is what you choose. My son was 18months old when he had that done with his two year molars. Apparently from all of his teething we had ear infections and sinus infections everytime we turned around. According to the doctors the antibiotics basically made his teeth into cavities before the two year molars even came in.
We had a lady do his capping at Children's Mercy....geez 6.5 years ago!!! WOW!! Anyways they did it wonderfully and it didn't take long. Matter of fact before they did that with him they gave him a little drink called "giggle juice". IT is a demerol drink. It makes them relax so they don't freak out when it is time for you to leave. It was really nice.
As for the IV sedation I have never done that with any of my children. The only time they have ever had that was for other reasons like....tonsils getting out, adenoids being removed. I hope this helps you in some way. Good luck!


Yes, I have had this experience! My (then) 3yr old son needed two crowns. (I guess I used toddler toothpaste on him for too long -- be warned - you need to switch to flouride toothpaste and make them spit it out early!)

Anyway, the first pediatric dentist we saw told us we needed sedation, hospitalization, and a $15K bill. Needless to say, I took his xrays and got a second and then a third opinion. First I took the xrays to my own dentist. He believed the pediatric dentist was just trying to make money. He could not even see 2 of the OTHER cavities the ped dentist claimed were there.

The third opinion I got was from a second pediatric dentist...Dr. Berry in Parkville. He is wonderful. He said dentists sometimes want full sedation on small children because it is easier for them (the dentists) - but that it can totally be done w/o going so far.

FIRST OF ALL, call your insurance company!! My insurance would not cover hospitalization for non-emergency dental work AT ALL. So doing what the first dentist suggested was not an option for us. Dr. Berry split the work up into 3 appointments. My son got through it just fine.

Also, ask yourself if your dentist is trying to scare you. Did he tell you the only other option was to tie your child to the table and traumatize him for life?? That's what our first dentist did. I got suspicious.

Dr. Michael Berry in Parkville has a very nice, very high-tech office. He and his great assistants did a fabulous job making my son comfortable. They gave him nitrous gas, put on a movie, and worked quickly.


Get more opinions. Call your insurance Good luck!

P.S. Ask whoever does the work to put a "pellet" in under the crowns. My son had pain after his first crown and they had to go back in and place a pellet. On the second crown they put one in preemptively and he had no trouble with it.

My son just had 2 cavies filled & the dentist used laughing gas, but my son is 7 y/o. My son did have general anethesia at Children's Mercy (the north one) when he was 7 mo. old (he had an open reduction - hip surgery).
Find out the risks for both. With general anethesia he will need an IV too. Will the dentist be doing the crowns at Children's Mercy? Also check with your insurance.
I would probly trust my son's dr. over his dentist on what is safer. Go with your gut.

God bless!

Hello! I am so sorry that you are having to go through this! We have been fighting dental issues with my son since he was 17 months old. He is now 4. At 17 months, we did use the GA option at Children's Mercy. He had caps placed on the front 4 teeth. He had the very early stages of decay on three of the 4 teeth. At that time, I didn't know anything about decay on children's teeth. It was the first incidence in all of my family. It was a very difficult experience. They did allow me to be with him as he fell asleep (they made an exception - not what they normally did). However, they wouldn't let me be with him right after and said that by the time he was aware enough to know, I would be with him. That didn't turn out to be the case. He was hysterical by the time they brought me to him. This in turn caused extra bleeding from his gums and it was not a pleasant experience. I was upset, of course, because he wouldn't have had to be so upset if they would have allowed me to be with him sooner. If you choose that option and want to get more details from me about it- I'd be happy to talk with you about it. We now have 3 molars that are issues. He are using lots of alternative treatments to try to keep the teeth as long as possible. We may still have to get work done on them - since they are the molars, it is a long time before they will fall out on their own. There are 2 groups on yahoo (alternative kids teeth, very young kids teeth - I think I am right on those names). There is so much information about things that can be done to improve the health of the teeth. If your son doesn't have pain in these teeth, it might be possible to try some things to put off doing treatment for a while. My son's teeth don't look great, but I took him to a ped. dentist and found that they are hard due to the things we've done. I've gone on here - but I just want you to know that you are not alone! If you want to talk, feel free to email me!

My four-year old had five fillings and five crowns when he was two - all with nitrous oxide at Small Smiles. It took two office visits travelling 80 miles one-way to get there each time, but it was definitely worth it. I did not want to risk using sedation or ga. There are definitely other options. I would check into them all!


Hey H.,
My daughter had the same thing but she actually had four teeth crowned at 3 yrs old. We did the children's Mercy route. It worked out for the best as she was very apprehensive since she had just had her tonsils out 3 weeks prior. They were able to give her some medicine to relax. I just felt safer having her in hospital environment if they are putting them out. Hope this helps... oh by then way my daughter is now 9 and continues to have problem with baby and permanant teeth so keep up on those check up's... she is costing us a fortune.

My grandson had the sedation at hospital was much easier, then dealing with a screaming kid trying to be sedated. The kids told me was very easy an xavier was a jewel on being sedated. Hope this helps. D.

My daughter required a dental procedure that required IV sedation, which I opted for them to do in the dental office. I figured it would be a less frightening experience than going to the hospital. After the procedure they brought me back to sit with her, and she was crying, crying, crying. The staff then explained that this is a typical reaction as they wake from sedation. Holy cow, I wish they'd warned me. It scared me so! But now you have the benefit of knowing in advance! Other than that, I saw no ill effects, and the crying was very, very short-lived. I hope this was helpful.

First check with your insurance to see what they will cover.
My insurance covered the general anesthesia because my son is ADHD. It would have been 3 office visits due to the work he needed done and the places he needed done.

He just had his same day surgery yesterday and everything went very well.

My son had to have one tooth pulled and crowns done. The actual procedure only took about 40 mins, and I got to go seen him about 30 mins after that.

Good Luck.

I can't believe they would put crowns on baby teeth. It sounds like a waste of money to me. No crowns - no sedation - sounds great to me. They are baby teeth they will fall out. Fill them and leave them alone.

We just had that done on our 2 year old son on 4/3/09. Our Dentist Dr. Matt Hilman with Smiles Dentistry said he could either do it in his office with general anesthesia or at Children's Mercy Hospital. What I found out from my health insurance company is that since it is not emergency dental work they will not pay for the anesthesia and our dental insurance does not cover it either. This would have cost me $1000. My son had to have another surgery done at Children's Mercy (completely unrelated to dental), which my insurance pays for anesthesia. Our dental office worked with CMH and the dentist did the work on my son while he was out for his other surgery. It just happened to work out for us this time. Make sure you check with your insurance company to find out what they will and will not cover. I felt more comfortable having it done at the hospital, just in case there were any adverse effects of the anesthesia.

Hope that helps.

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