There are certain circumstances that may make it preferable for a child to be asleep during a dental procedure. If the treatment is going to involve extensive surgery for instance, the time element alone makes general anesthesia a good option. Another case may involve doing several procedures at one time. A pediatric dentist might recommend that a child who is overly anxious or fearful about having dental work done may be better off under general anesthesia.
The anesthesia may be administered before treatment in the dentist’s office or the patient may be admitted to a hospital for treatment in the O.R. there. Either way there will be certain dietary restrictions to be followed the night before i.e. no solid foods and only clear liquids after midnight. If your child is taking any medications make sure to tell your dentist beforehand.
If you do opt to go to the hospital the first step will be to fill out the paperwork and sign a consent form. A nurse will take your child’s vitals, record his weight, and take an account of his medical history. If your child is anxious about the surroundings or about having the procedure done, he may be given a medication to relax him.
Before the surgical proceedings begin, a pediatric anesthesiologist will meet with you and your child and go over all the medical information that you have provided in order to determine what intravenous medication is best for him.
Up until the time he is wheeled into the O.R. you will be encouraged to stay with your child. Try to stay calm and talk to him in your normal tone of voice to reassure him that everything is going according to plan. If your child has a favorite stuffed animal or “blankie” bring it along for added moral support.
After the procedure your dentist will want to keep your child in the recovery room for awhile to monitor his vitals before he is released to go home.
Lucinda Lewis, DDS in Aurora, CO is affiliated with Children’s Hospital. Call 303-367-1502, Dentist4Kidz to consult with her.