Guideline on Use of Local Anesthesia for Pediatric Dental Patients - PDF

Local anesthesia is the temporary loss of sensation including pain in one part of the body produced by a topically-applied or injected agent without depressing the level of consciousness. Prevention of pain during dental procedures can nurture the relationship of the patient and dentist, building trust, allaying fear and anxiety, and promoting a positive dental attitude. The technique of local anesthetic administration is an important consideration in the behavior guidance of a pediatric patient. Age-appropriate “nonthreatening” terminology, distraction, topical anesthetics, proper injection technique, and nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia/anxiolysis can help the patient have a positive experience during administration of local anesthesia.

In pediatric dentistry, the dental professional should be aware of proper dosage (based on weight) to minimize the chance of toxicity and the prolonged duration of anesthesia, which can lead to accidental lip or tongue trauma.

Knowledge of the gross and neuroanatomy of the head and neck allows for proper placement of the anesthetic solution and helps minimize complications (eg, hematoma, trismus, intravascular injection). Familiarity with the patient’s medical history is essential to decrease the risk of aggravating a medical condition while rendering dental care. Appropriate medical consultation should be obtained when needed.