IV Dentistry Sedation vs Drink 'Cocktail' Sedation for a 6 Year Old

Updated on March 07, 2012
H.T. asks from Austin, TX
18 answers


My daughter has seven cavities! She is 6 years old. The dentist would like to put stainless steel crowns on them..they are her baby teeth.
The dentist recommends having the teeth done all at once, which will require an anesthesiologist to come into the office and first administer a gas then administer an IV to put her under, Meanwhile..she will have a breathing tube down her nose because of the airways being constricted due to the sedation procedure.
She would be monitored throughout the procedure.

The other option is a drink 'cocktail' for sedation..this will keep her conscious throughout the procedure. However, this way of sedation, she will have to have the teeth stainless steel capped in separate intervals.

I personally think the first option might be a little harsh for my 6 year old for only having her teeth worked on.
I feel bad enough as it is for this even to be happening at all.

Have you had any experience with either types of sedation for your child or perhaps anyone with some incite to help me with my decision. I am leaning towards the drink sedation..but I still don't know much info on that.


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answers from Las Vegas on

Crowns on baby teeth doesn't sound right. Did you already get a second opinion? Did you find out what this is going to cost you? I would get a second opinion AND I would not allow the cocktail or the anesthesia.

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answers from Salt Lake City on

my first question would be why cant they just fill the cavities these are baby teeth they are coming out. I would get a second opinion on this it seems like an awful lot for a six year old to go through.

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answers from New York on

I would get a second opinion. There are gentler ways to deal with it. They can use temporary fillings at that age in baby teeth. They don't have to last that long!

I wouldn't use either type of sedation on a child, especially full anesthesia. It is extremely dangerous, and I'm surprised that it is done so cavalierly.

My dentist (general family) doesn't do it, and he managed to fill 4 cavities in a 3 year old without trauma and without any sort of sedation or numbing. He just took a little time and care. Granted they weren't extremely deep cavities, but if he can do it for a three year old, I'm not sure why your dentist can't do it for a six year old.

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answers from Seattle on

Strong 3rd on the 2nd opinion HOWEVER... my inlaws have terrible teeth. Nearly all of them either had to have all of their babyteeth pulled, or to get rootcanals and crowns on their baby teeth.

My inlaws family has gotten MUCH bigger since dentistry got good. It used to be that most of the children in the family died before age 5 (massive systemic infection from abcessed teeth. Ex: 11 babies born, 1 or 2 live to their permenent teeth coming in. There's just a flaw in the material that baby teeth are made out of in their DNA... The dentin doesn't form right. They can brush every hour, and their teeth just get riddled with holes).

So root canals or pulling teeth in toddlers and young children can be absolutely necessary/ lifesaving.


All my neices and nephews get this done. HANDS DOWN IV SEDATION IS EASIER ON THE KIDS.

1) They go to sleep, and wake up when it's over. The IV sedation is closely monitored and increased/decreased as needed

2) They don't get addicted to painkillers (because it's a 1 shot thing. The kids whose parents choose multiple proceedures over a year usually end up having to deal with their kids going through withdrawl from the multiple uses of narcotics. PLUS the kids are in pain a LOT more... because it repeats. Those kids usually end up HATING the dentist, because every time they go, they know they're going to be hurting for 1-2 weeks.

Sometimes multiple surgeries are unavoidable, because there are too many of them that need to be done and the child is too young, so it's dangerous. In GENERAL, though, the fewer surgeries the better.

USUALLY, however, if they're within 1-2 years of adult teeth erupting, the teeth are "just" pulled (any abcesses cleaned out), and they're gappy for a year or two. The crowns and bridges are usually reserved for toddlers who are looking at 3-5 years of not having teeth.

It's a SPEECH thing -crowns and bridges- (the tongue needs to be hitting teeth in order to form words correctly, and without the teeth they can't speak correctly AND the tongue "learns wrong" so when teeth do come in, it's years and years of speech therapy), more than a chewing thing, although chewing can become an issue as well ESP if it's back teeth. If molars aren't crowned, it's baby food for years.

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answers from St. Louis on

I never understand why anyone would want anesthesia administered by a dentist, in other words the cocktail.

My son had it done and was sedated. It really is the easiest way. The cocktail is a one size fits all where the properly administered anesthesia is catered to your child so you are not given too much or too little.

I work for anesthesiologists so perhaps I am biased but I know the level of care they give. The requirements on an anesthesiologist are a lot more strict than that on a dentist. The dentist is a dentist and really isn't qualified to deal with emergencies with sedation nor is he required to know. That is why most dentist now prefer the mobile anesthesia.

My son had his teeth capped before I worked were I am now, knowing what I know now it just makes me confident I made the right decision.

I just wanted to add since the OP hadn't updated. Multiple cavities like this tend to be genetic not poor brushing or lack of care. Both my boys had it. Their molars had to be crowned or they would not have been able to chew for the two or three years till their adult teeth came in. It was either that or partial dentures, sedation seemed more practical.

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answers from Detroit on

make suere you use a pediatric dentist..

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answers from Seattle on

Personally I wouldn't crown the cavities... just my personal opinion. I grew up in Europe and had NEVER even heard about putting crowns on baby teeth before I moved here. All of my nieces and nephews have one cavity or another (my sis is a bit lax with the oral hygiene and her 4 year old is still taking a bottle w/ milk to bed...) and all they ever do is fillings. One at a time, local anesthetic, no big deal. Seriously, I have been to the dentist with my oldest niece when she got her first filling at 4 years old... a few tears because she was scared... and then it was all good. No lasting trauma, went back a week later for the next one and no tears then.
Sooo, I would probably opt for a second opinion.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Okay, here's the thing. Get a second opinion. I wish you were in OKC. I would send you to Jason Lee. He only uses white where they show in the front and uses silver if the teeth are so far gone they would be un-fixable. When our girls front tooth came out I could not tell where the cap started and the tooth ended. She had fallen and broke it off.

So, are they back teeth? That's more common for the silver.

Kids get cavities. They either have strong enamel or weak. She evidently has weak enamel and will have cavities whether she brushes 10 times a day or never.

I would say she needs to go to sleep. Dr. Lee uses Children's Hospital in OKC and Midwest City Hospital to do his procedures where he puts the kids to sleep with an anesthesiologist. I would prefer to do this since it is a hospital setting and if there were complications there are emergency personnel there already.

I never gave it a second thought for either kid. They went in, went back to the surgery room, breathed in some gas, went out, got IV's put in, got anesthetized, got the work done, woke up, IV's came out, they were totally awake and ready to go play and eat some food.

It was easy and painless.

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answers from Austin on

My son had the drink cocktail before and it did not work on him. We had to reschedule our appointment. My son had fallen and broke his 2 front teeth so they decided to remove them. I would give the drink coctail a try. The tube down the throat and an IV for teeth does sound harsh. I have never heard of such for teeth removal. What happend to just gas and numbing shots? Thats how my sons teeth were removed. Maybe you should get a second opinion.

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answers from Seattle on

My son did the drink option when having stitches put into his mouth. Granted this is completely different than having teeth worked on but thought I'd give my .02. He will be using the drink again at his next dental appointment. I H. all goes well for you little one during the procedure(s).



answers from Washington DC on

Wow poor baby, six cavities!. I would get a second opinion as that is a lot of cavities for a 6 year old to have. Why does she need crown on them? I thought crowns were for teeth that had a cavity so big that it was no longer strong enough and may crack? i could be wrong. Are her cavities that large or is it cause they are baby teeth? I think I would do the "cocktail", it just seems easier and less traumatic. I think if she feel no pain having to do it a couple times shouldn't be a big deal. Good Luck.

Oh do you guys only drink bottled water? If, so Deer Park sells Fluoridated water, I make my kids drink that. She won't get it from regular bottled water. Dentist also sell a product called Just for kids its an at home fluoride therapy. Listerine makes that smart rinse, DS,6, loves it. It is a fluoride rinse and it tints gunk left behind. KInda gross but they love it. You should mention these to your Dentist. DS has never had a cavity, so it really helps!



answers from New York on

I debated this a little while ago. My daughter was still 5. Is this a pediatric dentist? I was going to go the IV route bc my daughter is super sensitive. She threw a huge fit over not being able to drink after the flouride treatment and cried about going back just bc of that. So I thought - no way will she deal with cavities and novacaine etc. I got another opinion and this dentist is fantastic. They're both pediatric btw but he says he gets tons of patients where their dentists recommended IV or something and it's totally unnecessary. If you explain everything to kids calmly, they're fine. And he was totally right. My daughter didn't have 6 - I think 3? But it was 2 different appointments. They talked to her and had her watch a movie and she did absolutely fine. Ask around if you can find a great pediatric dentist like ours and get a second opinion... Oh - no crowns for us but he also nixed one tiny cavity that the first dentist said had to be filled. I'd want to hear from another dentist before I put 6 crowns on baby teeth...



answers from Miami on

My daughter was 6 she had an extra tooth they needed to pull. The gave her a strawberry smelling thing and a drop of laughing gas. She was still mostly aware took the edge off. I would never put her under she is to young. IV omg just the thought of a 6 year old who doesnt really need that getting that. Why so many cavities at that age? Get a second opninnion and fast. Also make sure you go to a kids dentist. They handle things way differently that an adult dentist.


answers from Phoenix on

No way would I have my child "put under" unless absolutely necessary, and cavities doesn't count under that, in my opinion. My son drank the liquid and did fine. I would go back for more than one appt if necessary. Good luck.



answers from Houston on

I would get a second opinion. If these are severe, large cavities where you can clearly see the decay, she should get the white dental bonding agent. They won't show and embarass her. Only if it is severe enough that the bonding agent doesn't have enough enamel to bond to once they remove the decay, should she get the stainless crowns. Then I would recommend the IV sedation. It will be a lot easier on her overall. The liquid stuff is yucky and she would still be aware of what they were doing. My son threw his up in the middle of a bridge work procedure (he fell out of bed and knocked out 2 teeth). It was disgusting.



answers from San Antonio on

First of all, GET A SECOND OPINION!!!!!!!!!! If these are baby teeth why in the world would you cap them? Usually they would just pull them....do not let them do this!!!! Sound like an insurance scam!!

Good luck,



answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter had to have 5 fillings done when she was 3 and we used the cocktail option which she did very well with. she was still pretty out of it when they were done and wanted to eat right away so we stoped and got a milkshake. (not one of my best mom ideas) but it helped her feel better.



answers from Victoria on

I have lots of silver in the back of my mouth. They are my perm teeth. I dont remember having them done all at once but it sounds like the drink option would require not having them done all at once. Whats wrong with novicane? (sorry for the spelling) I think the first option sounds like they are trying to make a buck on your dime!!! Also I am not a fan of giving that much medication to a child. I would prefer the novicane. Totally up to you , I would not judge you for doing what your dentist recomended at all.

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