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Dental Anesthesia

IV and dental anesthesia




My 4 yr old needs some caps on her teeth and the dentist wants to put her to sleep because she needs a few - will they use an IV in the hospital to put her to sleep?


Thank you for your question. There are two ways to induce anesthesia in children in the hospital. One is to start an IV and give medications. The other is to have your child breathe an anesthetic gas to go to sleep and start the IV afterwards. The latter can be done for most children, particularly if they are reasonably healthy, but some hospitals and anesthesiologists prefer the IV. You can discuss this with your anesthesia provider. Additionally, a mild sedative can be given orally prior to the IV start or the inhalation induction.

If the dentistry is to be done in the dentist's office under general anesthesia, typically an intramuscular injection in the arm is given. There is a little sting but unlike vaccinations, the medication itself is non-irritating and most children tolerate this very well. Within about 3 - 5 minutes, your child will be well-sedated to start an IV and begin general anesthesia.

So, there are many ways to get this done. I hope this helps.

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Response by:

Steven I Ganzberg, SB, DMD, MS Steven I Ganzberg, SB, DMD, MS
Formerly, Clinical Professor of Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University