Not all children are able to tolerate dental procedures awake or without the aid of sedation. In fact, sometimes laughing gas (nitrous oxide) and conscious sedation aren’t sufficient enough to help a child receive the dental care he or she needs. Luckily, there is another option available.
General anesthesia may be the best choice for your child.
How Does General Anesthesia Work?
General anesthesia is a state of closely monitored unconsciousness. General anesthesia can be achieved by administering a gas or a combination of medications that are delivered through an IV. We use general anesthesia to keep your child completely asleep, allowing our dentists to complete all necessary dental procedures. Once the dental procedures are complete, your child will begin to wake up as the medications wear off.
In our practice, we always use two practitioners for our general anesthesia cases; one who administers the anesthesia and monitors your child, and another who provides the dental treatment and performs dental procedures. The reason for this is we want to have our practitioners fully attentive to one task only, instead of trying to do multiple things at once.
While your child is under general anesthesia, the anesthesia provider will monitor your child’s heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and oxygenation, temperature and state of unconsciousness. The anesthesia provider will adjust the medications accordingly to make sure that your child remains completely asleep throughout the procedure and will also diligently monitor your child to keep his or her vital signs within a normal, safe range.
Our #1 goal is to make sure that your child is as safe as possible.
What Our Patients Say
“I was getting a procedure done that required anesthesia, so I was feeling a bit nervous. But, with the reassuring staff, my nerves went away and my procedure went smoothly.”
– Hailey W.
Call Children’s Dentistry of Charlottesville at (434) 817-1817 or contact us online to learn more about how general anesthesia can help your child.
Is General Anesthesia Right for Your Child?
Before recommending general anesthesia, special attention will be given to your child’s current state of health and previous health history. General anesthesia allows us to mitigate influencing factors such as behavior, anxiety, apprehension and cooperation. We may recommend the use of general anesthesia for your child if:
- He or she isn’t able to tolerate dental procedures, exams, or treatments even with the aid of laughing gas and conscious sedation
- His or her dental apprehension is so severe that other methods of calming and relaxation are insufficient
- He or she has a medical condition that necessitates complete sedation during dental work
- He or she requires an extensive amount of dental work
- He or she is too young to tolerate dental procedures while awake
- Previous attempts at treatments with other methods of sedation have been unsuccessful
At Children’s Dentistry of Charlottesville, we know that every child is unique. We will thoroughly evaluate your child’s specific situation before making a recommendation. We will consider his or her dental needs and health status and we always make a recommendation that is in your child’s best interests.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does General Anesthesia differ from Conscious Sedation?
When general anesthesia is used, your child will be completely “asleep.” When conscious sedation is used, patients become very relaxed and drowsy, but remain “awake” allowing them to interact with their dentist.
How safe is General Anesthesia?
General anesthesia is very safe! Before proceeding with general anesthesia, our team will work with you extensively to make sure this is the best option for your child. When using general anesthesia in our office, there is always a practitioner who is solely responsible for monitoring your child’s vital signs and adjusting the level of anesthesia used. Your child will be carefully monitored by your anesthesia provider throughout the appointment in order to keep him or her as safe as possible. Your child’s health, safety, and comfort are always our top priorities.
Is General Anesthesia recommended for children on the Autism Spectrum?
We know that every child affected by Autism is unique and that sometimes it is difficult for them to adjust to a new environment or to tolerate dentistry. We will work specifically with you and your child to tailor our treatments and recommendations to meet your child’s needs. Depending on the amount of dental work to be completed and their willingness to tolerate dental work, we may recommend general anesthesia to receive the dental care they need. Every child is different, so we will carefully consider all of the influencing factors in your child’s specific case before recommending a specific treatment method.
What Our Patients Say
Super friendly staff, extremely clean and sterile environment without being cold and harsh. my son is autistic and he even loved it! So happy to have found them!
— Chrissy H.
Do you accept insurance or Medicaid?
Yes! We accept Medicaid and many other insurance plans, including those from:
- United Concordia
- Delta Dental
What do I need to prepare for my child’s appointment?
Your child’s dentist will provide you with a complete list of pre-operative and post care-operative instructions, which may include:
- Discussing your child’s complete medical history with the dentist to determine if general anesthesia is the best option for them
- Providing a list of all medications your child is taking (prescription and over the counter)
- Following the dentist’s instructions to take or avoid your child’s regular medications
- Notifying us of any acute change in your child’s health (such as developing a cold or flu)
- Avoiding food and drink a few hours before and after your child’s appointment
- Wearing comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to assist in the application of patient monitors
- Bringing a favorite toy or blanket for your child to help relieve their anxiety on the day of surgery
- Watching for nausea, extreme drowsiness or other side effects after your child’s treatment
How long does General Anesthesia take to wear off?
By closely monitoring and adjusting the level of anesthesia provided throughout your child’s treatment, we’re able to minimize the amount of time needed to “wake up” and recover. We will keep your child for observation and monitoring until he or she is awake, alert and responsive before we dismiss you and your child. You can expect your child to be a little drowsy for a few hours after his or her appointment.