Anesthesia for Children’s Dental Procedures: What to Know

Discover the benefits of dental sedation for kids in Anchorage, Alaska. From calming laughing gas to comprehensive general anesthesia, learn how these options can alleviate anxiety, enhance comfort, and ensure a positive dental experience for your child. Trust Kids Dental Tree for expert pediatric dentistry in a caring environment.


For many parents, the idea of taking a child in for a major dental procedure induces a sense of anxiety for their child’s safety. Moreover, when it comes to dental sedation for kids during a procedure, there are a lot of misconceptions and outright fear. However, some 97% of dental offices have been using pediatric dental sedation, particularly in the form of nitrous oxide, otherwise known as “laughing gas,” for decades.

Administering anesthesia for routine dental treatments such as cleanings and fillings is a common practice that allows dentists to work efficiently and helps alleviate children's fears of dental visits.

Read on to discover how anesthesia, including laughing gas and general anesthesia, could be beneficial for your child's next dental visit.

Two Types of Safe Dental Sedation for Kids in Anchorage

At Kids Dental Tree, we offer the two most common forms of anesthesia for dental procedures for kids here in Anchorage, Alaska.

1. Nitrous oxide or “Laughing Gas” 

This mild sedative is inhaled and induces a sense of calmness and relaxation for your child during pediatric dental treatments. Your child will remain awake and responsive, and we can adjust their sedation level to fit their need. Once treatment is complete, laughing gas wears off quickly, within two to three minutes. 

Laughing gas is ideal for simpler, less invasive procedures like dental sealants, cavity fillings, and teeth cleaning. A pediatric dentist administers the laughing gas through a mask covering your child’s nose, and its effects will start after a few deep breaths.

Laughing gas helps your child stay calm and relaxed while awake and aware during the procedure. Moreover, its effects wear off relatively quickly after the mask is removed.

2. General Anesthesia 

For this option of dental sedation for kids in Anchorage, we have an attending, in-house anesthesiologist trained to provide safe sedation beyond the effects of nitrous oxide. This option removes any awareness from your child so that they can receive more in-depth treatments, such as pediatric dental surgery, with no memory afterward. Our pediatric anesthesiologist administers oral medication to make your child feel drowsy and relaxed. 

Then, an IV is started to provide the correct dosage of drugs to induce complete sedation. Throughout the procedure, the anesthesiologist monitors your child's vital signs. If your child is undergoing a dental procedure that requires general anesthesia, we will take the time to walk you through all available options well beforehand, ensuring you and your child feel safe, comfortable, and well-informed.

The Benefits of Using Laughing Gas in Kids’ Dentistry

Children can sometimes be anxious, fidgety, and uncooperative in the dental chair. Laughing gas can offer several benefits for routine and more involved dental procedures:

  • Induces relaxation and calmness in children
  • Helps children stay awake and aware during dental procedures
  • Provides pain relief during less invasive procedures like dental sealants, cavity filling, and teeth cleaning
  • Offers a quick onset of effects
  • Allows for easy adjustment of sedation levels
  • Reduces anxiety and fear associated with dental visits
  • Does not require needles or injections
  • Effects wear off quickly after the mask is removed, allowing children to resume normal activities sooner

What Can I Expect After My Child Wakes Up From General Anesthesia After Major Dental Procedures?

If there is a major dental procedure required, we will typically recommend general anesthesia. Parents may choose general anesthesia when children need multiple teeth treated at once to reduce anxiety and minimize pain. 

An anesthesiologist will also be present to ensure your child is safely sedated during the procedure. The anesthesiologist is responsible for monitoring your child's vital signs, including heart rate and respiration, while under anesthesia.

After the pediatric dental procedure, you'll be asked to be present as your child wakes up from sedation. Holding your child’s hand can help alleviate anxiety and make them feel secure. We also recommend bringing a comforting item for your child, such as a favorite stuffed animal or blanket.

After bringing your child home, you'll need to periodically check their breathing. Returning to school or daycare immediately after dental sedation is not advised.

Side effects of pediatric general anesthesia may include:

  • Grogginess
  • Sleepiness
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of physical coordination

Where to Find a Pediatric Dentist That Uses Anesthesia in Anchorage

Here at Kids Dental Tree, we specialize in pediatric dentistry, serving the families of Anchorage, Eagle River, Wasilla, and Girdwood, Alaska. We treat infants, children, teens, and children with special health needs. Our board-certified pediatric dentists and our entire team focus on preventive care in a warm, caring, kid-friendly space so that every child is set up for a lifetime of optimal oral health and beautiful smiles.

If you’re looking for a kids’ dentist in Anchorage, we offer comprehensive pediatric dentistry in a friendly and caring environment and can make the visit easy, painless, and quick with the help of anesthesia.

Ready for your child to have a positive dentist experience and create a strong foundation for their long-term oral health?

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Kids Dental Tree

1310 E Dimond Blvd
Suite 3
Anchorage, AK 99515

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