A Parent’s Guide to General Anesthesia in Dentistry

Cheerful kid with broad smile after teeth polishing procedure

Visiting the dentist can be an overwhelming experience for a child. Extensive dental treatment, such as multiple fillings or crowns, can bring about much anxiety for children and parents. Additionally, a frightened, hesitant, or overly-active child can make it challenging for the dentist to safely and effectively care for their teeth.

General anesthesia can make a trip to the dentist easier for children of all ages. If you have questions about having your child sedated during their next pediatric dental appointment, the experienced team at PureSmile can help. Here’s what you need to know about how general anesthesia is used during pediatric dental appointments.

What is General Anesthesia?

General anesthesia is a common form of sedation that is administered in a controlled environment by a trained dentist or physician. It is used to eliminate a patient’s awareness, ability to move, and any potential discomfort.

Why Use It?

General anesthesia is recommended for pediatric patients for a variety of reasons.
  • When a child needs significant dental work completed that could be time-consuming or painful.
  • When a child is uncooperative, overly anxious, particularly young, or just has a hard time sitting still for a long period of time.
  • When a child has other special health needs that must be considered.
If dental sedation has been recommended for your child by their dentist, discuss the risks, benefits, and concerns before proceeding with treatment.

Is General Anesthesia Safe?

While general anesthesia does have some risks, it is considered safe when administered in a controlled setting by a trained professional. The team at PureSmile works hard to put parents’ minds at ease. Your child will be carefully monitored the entire time they are under general anesthesia. Our team will oversee the patient’s care until they are alert and functioning again normally. Prior to your child’s treatment, the dentist will answer any questions you have and will provide you with all necessary information.

What to Expect

General anesthesia is a common and safe dental procedure. However, there are necessary steps to take before and after your child receives treatment. Ensure their health and safety with this checklist.

Before the Procedure

Prior to your child being sedated, it’s important to do the following.
  • Inform the dentist of your child’s past medical history, including allergies, surgeries, medications, and any previous illnesses.
  • Know who will be administering the general anesthesia, monitoring your child, and what qualifications they have to do so.
  • Ask how long your child should avoid eating and drinking before their procedure.
  • Be aware of the necessary steps you should take before bringing your child in for their appointment, such as administering any medication at home.
  • Discuss the emergency plan, such as medication and equipment available, should your child need it while sedated.

How Anesthesia is Given

Depending on your child’s age and comfort level, anesthesia can be administered in a number of ways.
  • Breathing medication through a mask
  • Receiving medication through an IV
  • For particularly anxious patients, drinking medication to help them relax is also an option.
In most circumstances, you will be able to sit with their child while they are given anesthesia to help them feel comfortable and safe.

After the Procedure

Once your child has regained consciousness, expect them to be tired for the remainder of the day. It is best to encourage them to take it easy until the next day. If they experience nausea or discomfort after the general anesthesia has worn off, ask the dentist what medications can be taken at home. If your child is extremely fearful about going to the dentist or is in need of extensive dental care, we understand. PureSmile is here to make their dental appointment in Shanghai as smooth and enjoyable as possible. Contact us today to learn more about how general anesthesia could benefit your child.