Young children with dental pain require treatment at any age. Sometimes the treatment may require general anesthesia or sedation. At All Kids Dental of Suffolk, we believe parents and guardians can contribute to the success of a child’s procedure. It is important to us that you as a parent know more about the anesthetics & medications recommended by your pediatric dentist, in preparation for your child’s appointment.
Common Reasons for General Anesthesia in Pediatric Dentistry
- Some dental procedures require your child to lie completely still
- there may be a lot to fix
- the noise of the drill may cause anxiety
- A child with special needs may need help completing dental procedures safely
Anesthesia Fast Facts
- Your child’s dentist will recommend general anesthesia to perform dental treatments only if it is needed.
- Your child will sleep through the procedure and have no memory of it.
- There are special rules for eating and drinking at home before & after the procedure.
- Your child will have some restrictions after the procedure.
- You should plan to stay at the office until the anesthesia has completely worn off and it is safe for your child to go home.
General anesthesia will make your child fall asleep and not sense any pain. A specially trained professional will administer the medications and monitor your child while a separate dentist performs the dental procedure or surgery. The specialist is either another dentist or an anesthesiologist. Having 2 specialists in the room is a requirement to make sure that one person is focusing on your child’s dental treatment and the other is focusing on the anesthetics.
What to Expect?
Once your child has checked in, the anesthesia staff will ask questions about your child’s medical history, inform you about the procedure, and request that you sign a consent form. After reviewing your child’s medical information, the doctor will decide which kind of sleep medication your child should receive. If your child is very scared or upset, the doctor may give a special medication to help him/her relax. You may stay in the room with your child as the sleep medication is given.
A small mask will be placed over your child’s nose and mouth. The medicine that is directed into the mask (nitrous oxide) will help your child relax and will make your child sleep. Once your child is asleep, intravenous (IV) sedation will be started so that medication can be given to keep him/her sleeping throughout the procedure. IV sedation requires a needle to be inserted into your child’s vein, usually in the arm or hand. Your child’s heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital functions will be closely monitored by a professional throughout the procedure.
Once the procedures have been completed, your child will be taken to our recovery room where we will carefully check his/her vital signs. It is expected that your child’s nose, mouth, and throat may remain numb for 30-45 minutes after the procedure. Your child’s throat may remain slightly sore for 1 to 2 days and his/her gums and mouth may be sore for several days afterward.
The effects of general anesthesia can last for many hours after the procedure, so be sure to follow the instructions given to you by the All Kids Dental team. If you have any questions before, during, or after the procedure, our team will be happy to provide you with all the information available.