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Dental Anesthesia

Novacaine in toddlers

04/27/2009

Question:

Is Novacaine safe for Toddlers. Age 2 1/2. Should they be put to sleep and is this safe. My daughter has 5 cavaties that need treated. What side effects can there be from both methods.

Answer:

Local anesthesia is very safe for children, but of course, as for all drugs, the maximum dosage is decreased relative to body size. Your pediatric dentist will know the maximum dose for your child.

General anesthesia for healthy young children (these younger kids are termed pre-cooperative) is very frequently necessary to perform dentistry safely and without restraining your child. Sometimes, oral sedatives can work but the child usually has to have some capacity for cooperation for this to work.

For the healthy child, the risks are very, very small. For children with significant medical illness, dentistry with general anesthesia can still be provided safely but a an experienced anesthesia provider is essential. Either a dentist or physician anesthesiologist are best for this care.

For a dentist anesthesiologist see www.asdahq.org. Dentist anesthesiologists will go to the dentist's office to provide the anesthesia and are specially trained to do this.

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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