Why General Anesthetic is a valuable avenue for Pediatric Dentistry as a parent, you have the responsibility of taking your kids to the dentist.
If you start very early, chances are they might not have any problems with their teeth and they would only be visiting the dentist for check up and cleanings. This procedure is simple and if the child is made to feel comfortable, this can easily be done in the dentist rooms.
Unfortunately, there are often times where more than a couple of cavities are found in the mouth. One cannot leave cavities unattended as they can get larger, or worse, cause abscesses leading to excruciating pain. Some kids will be ok with extensive repair work performed on the chair. There are, however, some kids that are either too young or way too scared to sit on the chair to get this done. Sometimes, the sheer volume of work implies that the child will have to come in for multiple one hour sessions, this can make going to the dentist a very negative experience, even for a child that loves his/her dentist. Working with children with special needs is also challenging.
Here is where General Anaesthesia comes in handy. This is done specifically in theatres by qualified anesthetists. Once the procedure has been consented to, a date is booked. The day of the procedure, the anesthetist does a full medical examination on the child and assesses their eligibility to undergo full anesthesia. Since no one likes needles (adults don’t have a choice!) the initial sleep is induced by gas using a mask that is very similar to a nebuliser (parents can be present at this stage, depending on that theatre’s protocol). Once the child is asleep, the parents leave the operating room. The IV drip is then inserted and the airway is protected by inserting a tube for oxygen. Please note that doing fillings involves a lot of water and although we suction most of it out the last thing we want is water going down the wrong hole, hence the importance of the tube.
Once the child is asleep, the dentist gets to work and procedures that would have taken 5 hours in the rooms takes a fraction of the time! When we do fillings no local anesthetic is used in theatre so the child doesn’t wake up with a numb face. With extractions, a local anesthetic is used and you will be informed about it. The whole time the dentist is working, the anesthetist and his nurse are monitoring your child’s vitals and making drug adjustments as and when needed.
General Anaesthetic has evolved over the years, the risks are minimal. So, if your child has severe issues with their teeth, a fear of dentists, or is special needs, we have a solution for you. This way every child can be helped and will have healthy teeth!