Hospital dentistry is dental care provided within a hospital or outpatient surgery center. In most cases, patients are sedated with a general anesthetic such as they might receive for ear tubes or to have their tonsils removed.
General anesthesia is a controlled state of unconsciousness that eliminates awareness, movement and discomfort during dental treatment. A physician or dentist with specialized training can use various medications to provide general anesthesia for patients receiving dental care.
Hospital dentistry including 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.
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. Your pediatric dentist will discuss the benefits and risks of general anesthesia and why it is recommended for your child.
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. Your pediatric dentist will advise you about any evaluation appointments that are required. It is very important to follow any pre and post-operative instructions and recommendations provided by your dentist including pre-operative dietary restrictions.