General anesthesia is the strongest form of dental sedation, and it’s only used when absolutely necessary. When used, the young patient sleeps through the entire procedure and will have no memory of it—special rules for eating and drinking the morning of will apply, and some follow-up care instructions will be supplied to the parent. Children are often supervised post-procedure for the rest of the business day and this helps to ensure the safety of the patient.
General anesthesia is only used for surgical procedures, often only if they’re complicated or your child is undergoing several surgeries at once. An anesthesiologist will be in attendance, an expert who is skilled in making children sleep and reassuring them throughout the process.
Prepping at Home
Depending on the age of the patient, no food or liquids are allowed for a several hours before the procedure. In general, the rules apply much like they do to Gremlins. After midnight the night before, there will be food and drink restrictions. No liquids are allowed of any kind two hours before the appointment. It’s a good idea to schedule the appointment earlier in the day so that kids don’t get hungry and cranky with a late afternoon appointment—after all, they already have enough on their plate that day.
Once the general anesthesia, balm is applied to avoid chapped lips (since the mouth will likely be open for a while) and an IV is inserted in the hand or arm to provide medication. All vital signs are constantly monitored during the procedure.
Getting Mom or Dad Ready
Knowing your child will be sedated can be tough on you, too—and your child will sense that. Doing your best to stay positive, comforting and encouraging, and maybe bringing along a favorite comfort item can help everyone get through the process.
Anesthesia is safe, but good preparation can lead to a better experience for all. Complete preparation instructions will be given to parents prior to a procedure requiring general anesthesia.