I am so sorry to read your question which greatly saddens me as a member of the dental profession. Your son's experience is of course inappropriate, dental treatment on young children is sometimes very difficult to achieve a satisfactory result for all sorts of different reasons but there is never any merit in distressing a child 'to get the job done'. To answer your questions:-
Local anaesthetic is appropriate for most dental procedures be they on adults or children and if explained properly to the patient, is readily accepted by most. It does however take time and, although not an excuse, the time constraints on some dentists may encourage them to complete the treatment in the swiftest but not necessarily the kindest way. Baby teeth can sometimes be treated with no anaesthetic, particularly with the help of a little sedation, very successfully but it is always important to stop treatment if it is painful or difficult.
Your options for the future are to consider discussing your son's treatment with the dentist who carried it out, seek a more sympathetic approach from a different practitioner or even consider referral to a secondary care facility although the latter option is unlikely to be necessary. The advent of the new NHS contract is likely to make dentists practicing within the health service poorer financially and therefore your son's experience may sadly become more commonplace.