General anaesthetic

What is general anaesthetic?

Under general anaesthetic, a patient is in a controlled state of unconsciousness that eliminates awareness, movement and discomfort during treatment.

A specialist anaesthetist administers the anaesthetic at an accredited day surgery in a private hospital setting. The anaesthetist’s role is to ensure your child is comfortable and pain free. The anaesthetist will stay with your child during the procedure and monitor them closely. In Australia, specialist anaesthetists are among the world’s most highly trained doctors having spent years undergoing training in anaesthesia, pain control, resuscitation and managing medical emergencies.  We only carry out procedures in hospitals that are appropriately staffed and equipped to anaesthetise children.

When do we use general anaesthetic?

We will discuss in detail with you if we recommend general anaesthetic for your child. The situations in which we may recommend  general anaesthetic include:

  • when a child is very anxious and is unlikely to cope well enough for the dentist to complete the dental treatment safely in the chair, even with the help of laughing gas
  • if a child needs extensive dental treatment which will be best completed in one appointment under general anaesthetic
  • when we need to carry out a complicated dental procedure, such as oral surgery, which would be difficult to tolerate while awake
  • for a child who is too young to understand or follow directions
  • for a child with special needs with limited ability to be safely treated in the dental chair

What happens before the procedure?

The anaesthetist will discuss the benefits and risks of general anaesthesia prior to the procedure. You will also be given some instructions regarding eating and drinking for your child and it is important that you adhere to these instructions.

What to expect when you come to the hospital

When you arrive at the hospital, the nurse will assess your child and ask you some questions.

Then, the anaesthetist will come and speak to you and examine your child before you move into the operating theatre.

Usually, one parent accompanies the child into the operating theatre and, after your child has been anaesthetised, you will be escorted to the waiting area. For young children, the anaesthesia is commonly administered as a mixture of gases through a mask. The anaesthetist will go through the appropriate methods of administering anaesthesia prior to the procedure.

After the procedure

After the procedure is complete, your child will wake up in the recovery room. You will be called in to be with them. The nursing staff will continue to monitor your child and ensure that he or she continues to recover safely. Often children will cry upon waking from an anaesthetic. There are multiple causes for this, including waking in an unfamiliar environment or a feeling of confusion that can be caused by anaesthesia. Once your child is settled, the staff will give you instructions and discharge you.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss general anaesthetic as an option for your child’s treatment.

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