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What Kind of Sedation is Used in Pediatric Dentistry
January 30, 2023  |  blog

What Kind of Sedation is Used in Pediatric Dentistry

Introducing Pediatric Dentistry Sedation

When it comes to pediatric dentists, sedation is an important factor. Pediatric dentists use a variety of sedatives to help manage the anxiety and fear that many children experience during dental visits. Using different types of sedation, the dentist can complete treatments safely, quickly, and effectively while providing comfort for the patient. In this article, we will look at what kind of sedation is used in pediatric dentistry and how it helps kids with their dental care needs.

Types of Pediatric Dental Sedation

There are several types of sedatives that are used in pediatric dentistry that can be administered through breathing or oral ingestions. Depending on the child's needs and the dentist's recommendations, different levels of sedation may be used.

Light Sedation

For children who are easily anxious or fearful during dental visits, light sedatives can help to keep them relaxed without causing too much drowsiness. Commonly used light sedatives include nitrous oxide (or "laughing gas"), which is a mild anesthetic that helps to relax the patient while allowing them to remain conscious and responsive. Oral sedatives can also be given in liquid forms, such as Valium or Halcion. These medications help to reduce anxiety and fear without inducing deep sleep.

Moderate Sedation

Medications for moderate sedation are often administered orally and typically produce deeper relaxation than light sedatives. These drugs can make patients feel drowsy and may reduce their memory of the experience. Commonly prescribed moderate sedatives include oral hydroxyzine, midazolam, or pentobarbital.

Deep Sedation

When a patient needs deeper relaxation during treatment, deep sedation is necessary. This type of sedation usually involves giving a more powerful medication through an IV or injection to achieve heavy sleepiness and total body relaxation. Deep sedatives are typically used when the dentist needs to perform lengthy treatments such as multiple extractions or root canal therapy. Common deep sedatives include propofol, ketamine, and fentanyl citrate.


Sedation in pediatric dentistry is a safe and effective way to keep children calm throughout their dental treatments. Pediatric dentists use several types of sedatives, ranging from light to deep, depending on the type of treatment needed and the patient's level of anxiety. Regardless of which type of sedation is used, it's important for parents to follow their pediatric dentist's instructions in order to ensure the safety and comfort of their child during the procedure.


Q: What kind of sedation is used in pediatric dentistry?

A: Pediatric dentists use various forms of sedation, including nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedatives such as Valium or Halcion, hydroxyzine, midazolam, pentobarbital, propofol, ketamine, and fentanyl citrate. The type of sedation used depends on the patient's level of anxiety and the type of treatment required.

Q: Is pediatric dental sedation safe?

A: Pediatric dental sedation is generally safe when administered by a licensed dentist who specializes in pediatric dentistry. Pediatric dentists are trained to monitor their patients closely while they are under sedation to ensure their safety and comfort during treatments.

Q: What should I tell my child before going to the dentist?

A: Before your child goes to the dentist for a procedure requiring sedation, it's important that you talk to them about what will happen during the visit. Explain that they will be given special medicine to help them stay calm and relaxed while the dentist works. Additionally, let your child know that even though they may feel sleepy or unaware of what’s happening, their dentist is there to keep them safe and comfortable throughout the procedure.