- Mar. 24, 2024

Information for Parents about Sleep Dentistry

We get a lot of questions from parents regarding the safety of sleep dentistry and general anesthesia! Ensuring the safety of children during dental procedures under general anesthesia is paramount, and recent studies have provided valuable insights into enhancing this safety.

What are the main side effects of General Anesthesia?

  1. Nausea and vomiting: These are among the most common side effects of general anesthesia, particularly upon awakening from anesthesia. Antiemetic medications are often administered to help alleviate these symptoms.
  2. Sore throat and hoarseness: Postoperative sore throat and hoarseness can result from irritation caused by the breathing tube used during anesthesia. These symptoms are usually temporary and resolve within a few days.
  3. Confusion or disorientation: Some individuals may experience temporary confusion or disorientation upon waking from anesthesia. This typically subsides as the effects of the anesthesia wear off.

There have been several studies that have examined the effect of general anesthesia on neurological function in children.

The Pediatric Anesthesia NeuroDevelopment Assessment (PANDA) study, The Mayo Anaesthesia Safety in Kids (MASK) study, and the General Anaesthesia or Awake-Regional Anaesthesia in Infancy (GAS) study examined the long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes of infants and young children undergoing anesthesia. These studies found no significant adverse effects on neurodevelopmental outcomes in children who received a single, brief exposure to anesthesia for dental procedures before the age of 36 months. These findings offer reassurance to both parents and healthcare providers regarding the safety of general anesthesia in pediatric dentistry.


How will my child be put to sleep?

In general your child will be given oxygen and usually sleep medicine through the mask to breathe. After they are asleep, an intravenous catheter will be placed in their hand or foot that allows fluids and medications to be given. A breathing tube is placed in either the nose or the mouth. Children will not having any memory of the surgery once they are asleep.  The anesthetic plan can change to better suit your child’s needs and the dental anesthesiologist will discuss the details prior to the surgery.

How will my child be monitored?

During anesthesia, continuous monitoring is essential to ensure patient safety and well-being. Vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and respiratory rate are continuously monitored to assess the patient’s physiological status. Capnography and ECG are also used throughout the sleep dentistry visit.

When can my child return to their normal activities?

Your child should be resting at home for the remainder of the day under adult supervision.  Typically children are able to return to school and their normal activities the following day.

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