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What options are available for dental anesthesia in a 5 year old?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

My 5.5 y.o. DS has a handful of caries between his molars. One in particular has developed an abscess, is basically hollow, and should be removed. I stalled as long as I could, trying different treatments such as ozone & MI paste to cure the cavity, but it is too far gone. There is one other cavity directly above the previously mentioned molar that is pretty deep as well. I'd like to proceed with treatment, but I have no idea which type of anesthesia to ask for. 


I know there are a few different kinds out there, but I'm not sure of the risks, particularly for a 5 year old. I mentioned general anesthesia as well as Nitrous to my DH and he panicked, having probably read about all types of cases that resulted in death. DS is a calm 5 y.o., very cooperative in the dentist's chair, however having an extraction and drilling (possible pulpotomy) seems very traumatic, so I just don't know what to do. 


What are the types of dental anesthesia used for young children and what are their risks? Do you recommend any one type in particular? Thanks in advance for your help!

post #2 of 4
Being calm and cooperative, and not fearful, there's a good chance he'll do fine with simply a local anesthetic, same as adults get. With or without nitrous. My 5yo dd has that same temperament at the dentist, and just got a filling and did well. It was totally no big deal to her. I'd warned her that there would be a shot to "make her mouth get sleepy" and it would pinch for a second, then "get sleepy" and she wouldn't be able to feel it anymore. We don't vaccinate so she's never had a shot. She bragged that she didn't even feel it :) We went to a pediatric dentist with tv screens so she got to watch Horton Hears a Who while they worked on her tooth, so a great distraction! Her cavity was mild, and just one, and even though your son has a bit more work needed, if its numb, its numb, you know? So there should be no pain, just some vibrations and strange sounds. And the extraction.. I remember needing one as a child. I had originally gone in for a filling, then it was decided after they got a real good look at it that it needed to come out. After a few minutes, he was like, "okay, its out" and I was shocked.. I had no idea he'd even started trying to get it out! It was so easy. You know your son best, but I think most kids by age 5, if they don't have dental fears and have an easy going temperament around the dentist, will breeze through a filling like its no biggie :) Admittedly, I'm ignorant about specific risks around local anesthesia, but as far as I know, thats as minimal risk as dental work gets!
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your perspective. I think you brought up a lot of good points. I'm still undecided, but it's nice to hear about your extraction experience. I know for DS, part of his root has decayed and they mentioned that it shouldn't be that hard to pull. I guess I'm worried about the possible pulpotomy. I'm hoping for a filling, but as the dentists have pointed out, milk teeth are largely pulp so if the cavity is deep, it's likely gotten to the nerve. I don't want him to lose yet another molar on that side, KWIM? so I guess I'd have no choice but to go the pulpotomy route (which may end up in abscess anyway, unfortunately). Decisions, decisions...


Still interested in learning about the risks of the different types of anesthesia available for kids.

post #4 of 4

My son (four and a half) had a LOT of work done with versed and demerol (conscious sedation). He had to have two pulpal treatments and crowns and a few other small fillings. I was super nervous about it, but he waas completely fine. I thought he would be way more "out of it", but he was just more calm. I was very nervous about the demerol but from what I've read versed seems to be fairly safe.

You might also just try nitrous? With lidocain?

What does your dentist recommend? What does he usually use?

I know a lot of people on this board are anti sedation, and i struggled with making the decision. In the end, I am so happy we did the sedation. My ds nodded off a little in the car on the way home, but was up the rest of the day like nothing happened.

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