Is General Anesthesia During Dental Operations Safe for Children? Spring Texas
Is general anesthesia (GA) safe for my child? This is one of the most common questions we have to answer worried parents whenever we propose the use of GA for dental treatments at out Vita Dental clinic.
Pediatric dentists will on occasion prescribe anesthesia for young and even anxious children who need to undergo complex oral treatments.
The answer to this question is that GA is 100% safe for your child. Anesthesia is the use of medications to make a person sleep during a procedure. GA uses reversible medications to induce sleep. These medications only work for a short duration such that once the effect of the medication wears off the child will wake up.
During the state of sleep, the pediatric dentist together with other staff will constantly check on your child’s pulse, breathing, and will use other gadgets to check the state of your child’s brain.
Types of Sedation and Anesthesia Used On Children
- Nitrous oxide
This is a mild sedative and it is also known as laughing gas. This helps your child to relax.
- Mild sedation
This is commonly used on older children or adults. Your child will be awake but will not remember what transpired during the procedure
- Moderate sedation
Under this sedation, the children are sleepier and will be able to do what they are told to do by the dentist. They wake up easily after the procedure, but will not remember anything after the procedure
- Deep sedation
This involves the use of intravenous medication to help your child sleep during the procedure. The child might make some noise and move but he or she will not be able to breathe on their own. There should be a qualified professional to monitor your child’s vital organs.
- General anesthesia
Under GA, your child will be asleep and will not feel any pain. Anesthesia professionals will administer the medication and monitor your child during the dental procedure.
What Medications Are Used For GA For Your Child?
The pediatric anesthesiologist who is a child doctor who specializes in anesthesia for children will use more than one medication. The first medication will be used to sedate your child. The second one will be used to induce a state of amnesia. The third one will be used to ensure the patient is quiet and the fourth one is to prevent any pain.
This means that during and after the procedure, your child will not feel any pain. He or she will be in a state of paralysis and will be very quiet. He or she will also not remember anything after the dentist is done. All this ensures the dentist performs the procedure without any interruptions. Your child will also be comfortable and safe during the procedure.
What to Do Before the Dental Procedure
If your child needs GA before a dental procedure, there are known rules that must be followed hours before the procedure. The scheduling nurse is supposed to brief you on the specific eating and drinking instructions for your child based on their age. It is important to follow the instructions carefully to ensure a successful procedure. Sedation poses the risk of stomach contents being vomited and inhaled into the lungs in case instructions given are not followed carefully.
It is also recommended that you dress your child in loose-fitting clothes to allow dental assistants to easily attach monitors to the child. Parents should also provide a full medical history of the child and notify the dentist if the child has been taking any medications or other supplements.
To ensure your child is calm, be as calm as possible and encourage your child before the procedure. You can carry a comfort item such as the child’s toy or stuffed animal for your child to hold. You can assure your child that you will stay with him or her. Sing, talk, or whisper to your child as the sound of your voice is comforting and reassuring.
Care after the Procedure
Once the procedure is complete, your child vital signs will be checked in the recovery room. Anesthesia effects can last for some time so do not panic. For instance, the below observations are common
- Numb mouth, nose, and throat for 30 to 45 minutes after the procedure
- Sore gums and mouth for several days after the procedure
- A sore throat for one or two days after GA
- Your child might feel like vomiting or feel some dizziness
At Home Care
Below are some instructions you should follow to allow for your child’s full recovery from the effect of GA
- Do not give your child hard foods a few hours or days after the GA
- Ensure you observe as your child eats as they might bite the numb parts of the mouth without knowing
- Allow your child to rest a few days after the procedure and monitor their progress at home
When Should You Call Your Child’s Dentist?
If your child has the below symptoms 24 hours after a procedure performed under general anesthesia, call your dentist
- Severe pain
- Severe vomiting or dizziness
- Severe bleeding of the gums
At Vita Dental, we have child-friendly dentists that have performed dental procedures under GA before. The specially trained anesthesia professionals will administer and monitor your child while the pediatric dentist performs the dental procedure. You can be sure your child will be safe during and after the procedure. If you are in Spring Texas, pay us a visit in case you have any concerns about your child’s oral health.