Some children are unable to tolerate dental restorative procedures while awake in a normal clinical-office setting. Young age, high anxiety, special needs or extensive dental decay are the reasons for a child to be treated in an out-patient hospital setting. Use of the hospital facility and general anesthesia is an alternative means of providing comprehensive dental care for these special patients. While under general anesthesia, all of their dental treatment is performed in a safe manner with outmost comfort which helps prevent the development of a lifelong fear of dentistry. Once all of the caries have been addressed, good dietary and home care instructions are instituted at home for a path to healthy dental habits. Dr. Sharif has privileges at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital and provides comprehensive dental care to children who require general anesthesia in a safe environment.
- Your child’s dentist will recommend general anesthesia to perform dental treatments only if it is needed.
- Your child will sleep through the procedure and have no memory of it.
- When anesthesia is needed, there are special rules for eating and drinking at home before the procedure.
- Your child will have some restrictions after the procedure.
- You should plan to stay at the hospital for most of the day until the anesthesia has completely worn off and it is safe for your child to go home.
- Up to 6 hours before the scheduled arrival time, formula-fed babies may be given formula.
- Up to 4 hours before the scheduled arrival time, breastfed babies may nurse.
For all children:
- After midnight the night before the procedure, do not give any solid food or non-clear liquids. That includes milk, formula, juices with pulp, coffee, and chewing gum or candy.
- Up to 2 hours before the scheduled arrival time, give only clear liquids. Clear liquids include water, Pedialyte®, Kool-Aid®, and juices you can see through, such as apple or white grape juice. Milk is not a clear liquid.
- If your child takes daily medication, you may give it unless specifically told not to do so by your child’s doctor or the scheduling nurse.
- The anesthesiologist will meet with you and your child to review your child’s medical information and decide which kind of sleep medication your child should receive.
- If your child is very scared or upset, the doctor may give a special medication to help him or her relax. This medication is flavored and takes effect in about 10 to 15 minutes.
- If you wish, you may stay with your child as the sleep medication is given.
- Once your child has been taken to the operating room, a small mask lined with Chapstick® will be placed over your child’s nose and mouth. Chapstick® will help prevent your child’s lips from become too dry while the mask is in place. The medicine that is directed into the mask —nitrous oxide — will help your child relax and will make your child sleep.
- Once your child is asleep, intravenous (IV) sedation will be started so that medication can be given to keep him or her sleeping throughout the procedure. IV sedation requires a needle to be inserted into your child’s vein, usually in the arm or hand.
- During the procedure, your child’s heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital functions will be closely monitored.
When your child has fallen asleep, you will be taken to the waiting room.
- You can bring along a “comfort” item — such as a favorite toy, stuffed animal or “blankie”— for your child to hold during the induction.
- You can touch your child to remind your child that you are there. Holding your child’s hand or caressing his or her hair and face will remind your child of your presence.
- You can whisper, talk, or sing to your child. The sound of your voice can provide reassurance.
- Even with a parent present, the operating room can be a scary place for a child. Do not feel bad if your child gets upset — even with you there to help.
- The main purpose of your presence at the induction of anesthesia is to help your child; therefore, your child’s safety is our primary concern. If you are asked to leave the room for any reason, you must do so quickly and quietly. The medical staff needs to focus their full attention on your child.
- If you feel uncomfortable and are unable to stay in the room during induction, please tell one of the medical staff. You will be guided to the waiting room.
- Your child’s nose, mouth, and throat may remain numb for 30 to 45 minutes after the procedure.
- Your child’s throat may remain slightly sore for 1 to 2 days after general anesthesia.
- Your child’s gums and mouth may be sore for several days afterward, depending on the dental procedure.
- Use caution when your child eats and drinks for about 30 to 40 minutes after the procedure.
- Your child may feel dizzy or feel like vomiting.
Give your child only soft foods for the first few hours after undergoing anesthesia.
- Your child is not to return to school or day care that day, and you may need to see how he or she feels the next day. Sometimes the effects from general anesthesia — usually tiredness — can last into the next day. Your child will need to remain at home where an adult can monitor him or her.
Upon returning home, your child may only have minimal activity for the remainder of the day.
- Your dentist will tell you when you should schedule a follow-up visit.
- severe bleeding of the gums
- severe pain
- severe vomiting or dizziness