What is dental anesthesia?

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What are the types of dental anesthesia used in children?

Dental anesthesia prevents pain and helps your child feel calm and relaxed. It can also help children stay still so that the dental work can be done safely.

Which medicines your dentist chooses depends on which dental procedure is being done. It also depends on your child's age and your child's comfort with dental work. And it depends on how well your child can stay still and do what is asked during the procedure. Often different types of medicines are used together.

Local anesthesia

This numbs the area to be worked on. Usually a numbing medicine is first swabbed on the gums in the area. Then the dentist gives a shot of medicine to numb the tooth, gums, and jawbone.


This helps your child stay calm and relaxed. The medicines can be given several ways. They can be given through a mask over the mouth and nose or as a pill or syrup by mouth. They can also be given through a needle placed in a vein (I.V.). Nitrous oxide gas is one example of sedation.

Sedation can range from light to deep. With light sedation, children are awake but relaxed. At deeper levels, children are very sleepy.

General anesthesia

This makes your child go to sleep. Your child will be unconscious and will feel no pain. It's given through an I.V.

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