Sedation dentistry is one of the most well-researched areas of pediatric dental care and has been proven safe and effective for children in studies across Canada and the U.S. Acquainting yourself with the methods of sedation, their advantages, and their use in the modern dentistry practice can help you in working with your pediatric dentist and ensuring the highest quality of care for your child. 


In this post, we’ll explore sedation and its benefits for pediatric dentistry, as well as answer common sedation questions. 


What Are the Major Benefits of Sedation in Pediatric Dentistry?

Safe pediatric dentistry sedation options offer several benefits to your child and their pediatric dentist. The most significant benefits of the latest sedation treatments include:

  • Relieving Dental Anxiety

Children, particularly younger children or those who have experienced medical issues at a younger age, are likely to be apprehensive and anxious about their dental treatment. Sedation helps alleviate their anxiety.

  • Safer For Patients and Dentists

The latest sedation option allows dentists to communicate with their patients while ensuring they comply with requests during the procedure. Sedation minimizes the potential for injury due to children moving their limbs while in the treatment chair. 

  • Allows Complex Treatment in a Shorter Time

With childen more relaxed and better able to undergo extensive treatment, the dentist can help ensure each patient receives the best quality of care and reduce their total treatment time. 

As a parent, understanding your child’s oral health sedation options and the benefits of each service can help give you peace of mind for future treatments. To help guide you in understanding sedation methods, let’s explore the most commonly used options in pediatric dentistry.


Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral conscious sedation allows children to remain awake and alert during their procedure while minimizing their anxiety and helping them feel more comfortable. Oral-conscious sedation options are usually the best choice for children with a small amount of anxiety, and several cavities. Children under oral conscious sedation will be able to cooperate with the dentist. In most cases, they won’t remember their procedure and will likely feel drowsy throughout their treatment. 

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is often recommended for children with several oral health treatment requirements and severe anxiety. Under general anesthesia, children are completely asleep and will have no pain or recollection of undergoing the procedure. Depending on the child’s age and overall health, your pediatric dentist may choose to carry out treatments with the patient under general anesthesia in a local hospital. For example, Dr. Fran at Glow Pediatric Dentistry often treats patients under general anesthesia at the BC Children’s Hospital.

Laughing Gas

Laughing gas tends to be the best option for children with mild to moderate anxiety about their dental procedure. The nitrous oxide gas is safe for children to inhale and administered through a mask that sits gently on your child’s face. Within minutes, your child will feel relaxed and happy while remaining fully awake and responsive during their procedure.

One of the primary benefits of laughing gas is children can often return to normal activities immediately following their dental treatment. They can return to school that same day, and there are very few known side effects from using laughing gas.

Frequently Asked Sedation Dentistry Questions


If your child is about to undergo sedation for an upcoming dental procedure, you likely have many questions for your dentist. The following are some of the more common questions about sedation dentistry.

How is the Type of Sedation Chosen?

You will have the final say in your child’s dental procedure and the sedation option chosen for the treatment. The type of sedation the dentist selects will depend on your child’s medical history, their level of anxiety, and the type and extent of treatment they require. 

Can My Child Eat on the Day of Their Procedure?

For most forms of dental sedation, dentists recommend children not eat any solid foods in the 8 hours immediately before sedation. They can drink clear fluids, but not in the two hours before their procedure. 

How Long Will the Sedation Effect Last?

Your child may remain under oral conscious sedation or general anesthesia for up to 2 hours. They may feel the effects of the sedation for up to 6 hours after the procedure. Their recovery time depends on the medication used and the complexity of their treatment.

What Will Dental Sedation Feel Like for My Child?

Your child will likely feel calm, relaxed, and sleepy for their procedure. They will be tired for hours afterward and have no memory of their treatment.

Book Your Child’s Next Treatment at Glow Pediatric Dentistry

Glow Pediatric Dentistry is committed to offering the latest safe, highly-effective dental sedation options while guiding parents on each sedation style and its benefits. To learn more about our commitment to safe sedation and to explore the sedation your child will experience during their procedure, contact our office today!