First, I totally get the guilt part. Dd (now 4y) has terrible issues with her baby teeth. The first 2 dentists we saw were not great. The final one we found was amazing, educated us and we feel so comfortable with her. I am absoultely not OK with leaving my child. All of dd's work has been done while she is on our lap (extraction of a molar, 2 sets of fillings, fitting for a spacer). The dentist uses gas...we have to pay extra each time but it's totally worth the $42. During the first visit she let dd sit in the chair and play, pick out a flavor to get her teeth brushed with, allowed her to exlore kiddie versions of all the tools, and had a flatscreen movie of her choice overhead. She gave her a mask that the gas flows through (scent and color of her choice) and practiced breathing with her. Every night we practiced together while I read her a relaxation script (my idea, I'm a child psychologist). Dd was a champ with the extraction. She went with dh, on his lap, he said the gas totally calmed her and she later reported to me that it made her feel "smooth and comfy!").
Moral of the story is that I was such a mess when she had her first work done that I sat home and practically cried while she got gassed and watched a movie! She loves going to the dentist and on a recent playdate one of her friends commente that the dentist hurts and dd said "you should try mine, she's fun". This was really proof to me that you have to search for the right professional. Thankfully we found one.
If you are not comfortable I would look around more.
Edited for an afterthought. The dentist warned us that children often become upset and even tearful when the effects of the gas wear off and they feel their face numbed for the first time. This happened like clockwork for dd and we just had to hold her and explain what happened.
Happy Mommy to one amazing girl (6y) and one sweet boy (2y), and wife to DH since 7/03 : :