When most people think of sedation dentistry or any kind of sedation, they’re really thinking about general anesthesia. This is the deep form of sedation that actually creates complete sleep during a procedure. We often use general anesthesia during advanced treatments for kids in order to ensure they are safe and pain free throughout a potentially uncomfortable dental treatment. In some cases, this is the safest option for kids. If you want to learn more about general anesthesia or any of the other sedation dentistry options available from our team, give us a call. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and help you and your little one prepare for safe, comfortable, and completely stress free dental treatment.
What is General Anesthesia?
General anesthesia is a form of sedation that renders the patient completely unconscious during treatment. Your little one will be fully asleep throughout the procedure, and general anesthesia will also prevent discomfort during and after treatment.
When is General Anesthesia Recommended?
There are some risks associated with general anesthesia, so it is not recommended for every patient. We use general anesthesia to help kids who are too young to understand what is happening during their dental treatment, those who have physical or cognitive impairments that would make dentistry services unsafe or uncomfortable, and for little patients who need complex or numerous treatments performed on the same day. During the treatment planning phase, we’ll review all of your sedation dentistry options and help you develop a plan that makes sense for your child’s unique situation.
What Happens During & After Treatment Using General Anesthesia?
When your child visits us for treatment with a need for general anesthesia, Dr. Choy will partner with the pediatric anesthesiologists on staff at Children’s Hospital of Dallas or the Park Central Surgical Center. When we perform dental treatments in a hospital setting, we ensure your child’s safety while they are under general anesthesia. Throughout the treatment, your little one will be completely asleep. Once we finish their procedures, it can take thirty minutes to an hour for them to wake up. Even after they come out of their anesthetic-induced sleep, children will likely feel groggy and want to rest or sleep for the next 12 to 24 hours. Depending on the procedure, we will provide you with detailed instructions to care for your child’s smile throughout the healing process. If you have questions or concerns after your child’s treatment, with or without anesthesia, we are always here to help.
What Other Options Are Available?
In addition to general anesthesia, we also offer more traditional forms of sedation dentistry. We can utilize mild nitrous oxide, laughing gas, to help kids stay relaxed and reduce pain during treatment. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off quickly, so kids can go right back to their regular routine after treatment (and so can parents). We also offer oral conscious sedation. This sedative option offers a middle ground between the mild laughing gas sedation and complete unconsciousness with general anesthesia. Kids will remain awake during treatment, but they’ll be groggy and pain sensation is reduced. For many kids, the best thing about oral conscious sedation is that they forget about the procedure almost immediately, protecting kids from developing dental phobias that can last a lifetime.