Dental Treatment under General Anesthesia


What is general anesthesia?

General anesthesia is a controlled state of unconsciousness that eliminates awareness, movement and discomfort during dental treatment. The use of general anesthesia sometimes is necessary to provide quality dental care for the child. Depending on the patient, this can be done in a hospital or an ambulatory setting, including the dental office. In our office, general anesthesia is provided in a hospital setting (Samaritan Medical Center) by an anesthesiologist (a medical doctor who specialized in anesthesia) and nurse anesthetist.

Who should receive general anesthesia for dental treatment?

General anesthesia may be indicated for children with extensive dental needs who are extremely uncooperative, fearful or anxious or for the very young who do not understand how to cope in a cooperative fashion. General anesthesia also can be helpful for children requiring significant surgical procedures or patients having special health care needs.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) Guidelines, general anesthesia is indicated for:

  • Patients who cannot cooperate due to a lack of psychological or emotional maturity and/or mental, physical, or medical disability
  • Patients for whom local anesthesia is ineffective because of acute infection, anatomic variations, or allergy
  • The extremely uncooperative, fearful, anxious, or uncommunicative child or adolescent
  • Patients requiring significant surgical procedures
  • Patients for whom the use of general anesthesia may protect the developing psyche and/or reduce medical risk
  • Patients requiring immediate, comprehensive oral/ dental care

Even though the use of general anesthesia should be carefully considered, comprehensive dental treatment under general anesthesia has helped hundreds of our patients to lead normal, healthy lives without dental pain or infection.

Is general anesthesia safe?

Although there is some risk associated with general anesthesia, it can be used safely and effectively when administered by an appropriately-trained individual in an appropriately-equipped facility. Precautions are taken to protect your child during general anesthesia; personnel who are trained to manage complications will monitor your child closely. Dr. Laura will discuss the benefits and risks of general anesthesia and why it is recommended for your child.

What special considerations are associated with the general anesthesia appointment?

A physical evaluation is required prior to general anesthesia for dental care. This physical assessment provides information to ensure the safety of your child during the general anesthesia procedure. Dr. Laura will advise you about evaluation appointments that are required.

Parents are instructed to report to us any illness that occurs prior to the general anesthesia appointment. It may be necessary to reschedule the appointment. It is very important to follow instructions regarding fasting from fluids and foods prior to the appointment.

For more information about this procedure, please click on the links below.

  • Information Letter DOC | PDF
  • OR Options, Risk, Benefits DOC | PDF
  • OR Restorations Care DOC | PDF
  • OR Scheduling Steps DOC | PDF
  • Post Op Instructions DOC | PDF