General Anesthesia at a Hospital
At Douglas L. Park, DDS, Pediatric Dentistry, we strive to provide your child with the best possible oral health care. In order to do this, we work with your child to make sure they are comfortable and safe in our office. We speak calmly, using an upbeat tone. We avoid using words that can induce fear, such as “hurt” or “pain.” We demonstrate our tools to them so that they know what is going to happen before we do it. However, despite our efforts, some children are just more anxious than others, and cannot, or will not, cooperate. For the safety and comfort of your child, we may recommend the use of general anesthesia at a hospital.
Why General Anesthesia?
Helping your child feel comfortable in our office is important to us. We want your child’s visits to be positive experiences, not negative ones. But we also understand that some toddlers and young children are very frightened. This fear and anxiety can cause them to go into hysterics, making it impossible for us to perform their procedures safely. For these children, we may recommend general anesthesia at a hospital. General anesthesia is also recommended in the event that your child will be undergoing a significant amount of dental work, and we need them to remain still for a longer period of time.
What Is General Anesthesia?
General anesthesia is a type of sedation that makes your child go to sleep, and they stay asleep throughout the entire procedure. It is delivered through an IV, which is done by (and monitored by) a trained anesthesiologist. This has several advantages. For one, because your child is asleep, they do not remember the procedure. All of their necessary dental work can be done, and your child will not be traumatized by their experience.
Preparing for Your Child’s Appointment
Some preparation at home is required before your child’s procedure. These will include guidelines on what to eat, and how long before your child’s appointment they have to abstain from any food. This is done to help limit nausea and vomiting. We will instruct you to have your child dress in comfortable clothing. You may also want to consider packing a comfort item (blanket, stuffed animal) so that your child has something to hold during the procedure.
At the Hospital
Once at the hospital, we will prepare your child for anesthesia. You may stay in the room while your child is being inducted. Your presence (holding their hand, talking with them, singing) may help to keep them comforted. We will provide your child with a medication to make them drowsy, and then begin the IV, which will keep your child sleeping through their entire procedure. The anesthesiologist will monitor your child while we perform the necessary dental work.
Once the procedure is over, your child will be taken to a recovery room, where their vitals are monitored. When we feel your child is ready, we will discharge them, and you can take your child home to rest and recover. The effects of the general anesthesia can last for several hours, sometimes into the next day. Monitor your child and limit their activity during this time. As your child begins to feel normal again, regular activities can gradually be resumed.
Is General Anesthesia Safe?
General anesthesia is very safe. We only recommend it when we feel it is absolutely necessary. If your child is recommended for general anesthesia, they are monitored by a highly trained anesthesiologist throughout the entire procedure. Your child’s safety is one of our top concerns, and we will do everything in our power to ensure it.
For some children, general anesthesia is the safest, most effective way for us to provide them with the treatment they need. Call Douglas L. Park, DDS, Pediatric Dentistry today to learn more.