Paediatric dentistry is perhaps the most delicate of all specialisations, especially when it concerns complex dental work. For dentists to execute procedures successfully, such as those that involve surgery, patients must be completely cooperative. Such procedures may require sedation or anaesthesia.
If your family dentist tells you that your child has tooth decay and needs to undergo a complex procedure, your first reaction would probably be to panic. Whilst it’s normal to worry about the safety of your child, the decision should ensure the best outcome for him or her.
When is Anaesthesia Necessary?
Your dentist may require general anaesthesia when the procedure is complex and invasive and may take longer than an hour. Both sedation and anaesthesia require a rigorous pre-assessment to make sure that your child is healthy enough to receive the medication.
General anaesthesia must be administered only by a certified nurse anaesthetist or an anaesthesiologist. The medication will put your child to deeper sleep to allow the dentist to do longer, more invasive procedures.
Making an Informed Decision
Your dentist or dental nurse should never offer to administer the GA. You have every right to say no to that. The practice should refer you to a hospital, which will then decide which method to use based on your child’s needs. If your child is in extreme pain, your emergency dentist should make the necessary preparations whilst your anaesthesiologist decides the best and safest option.
Whilst you have every right to worry about your child receiving general anaesthesia, paediatric dentists put your child’s safety at the top of their priorities, too. They don’t require GA as an easy way out, but to ensure successful outcomes and reduce the stress level of your child throughout the treatment.
Of course, parents have the right to say no and may opt for deep sedation instead. But to answer the question, GA is necessary. The pre-surgery screening is very important in reducing the inherent risks with sedation or GA. However, the benefits always outweigh the risks, so be sure to make an informed decision.