Parents rarely associate a dental visit for a child with general anesthesia in the hospital. While the large majority of children can be safely and comfortably treated in the traditional dental office setting, some patients may require a special approach to provide necessary dental care.
General anesthesia in a hospital operating room is often required for patients with special health care needs, as well as for otherwise healthy children of a very young age. Some conditions may require this form of treatment, which include medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, autism and other forms of developmental delay, or moderate to severe asthma. In addition, very young children with no special health care needs, but have extensive dental problems such as early childhood caries (baby bottle tooth decay), may not be treatable awake in the dental office. Hospital dentistry gives those patients who present with obstacles to receiving quality dental care an opportunity for safe, comfortable uncompromised treatment.
Lastly, we should address those children with extreme anxiety or apprehension that have had un-successful or unpleasant encounters in a dental office. General anesthesia or deep sedation provided by an anesthesiologist is sometimes the best approach to delivering dental treatment, which has been delayed or avoided. Without coexisting medical problems, these children may be very successfully managed with the services of the anesthesiologist in the dental office, avoiding the necessity of the hospital setting. The best possible approach is always determined through a discussion among the parent, pediatric dentist, pediatrician and occasionally other medical specialties.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact us!