Frequently Asked Questions

Making a difference, one child at a time.

What is General Anesthesia?

General anesthesia is a management technique that uses medications to cause the child to become unconscious and asleep while receiving dental care. Medication is given and monitored carefully.

Who should receive dental care with general anesthesia?

Children with severe anxiety and/or inability to cooperate are candidates for general anesthesia. These children may be young or have compromised health or special needs. They usually require extensive dental treatment and their anxiety cannot be controlled with conscious sedation techniques.

Is general anesthesia safe?

Although there is some risk associated with general anesthesia, it is safe when administered by an appropriately trained individual in an appropriately equipped facility.


Many precautions are taken to provide safety for the child during general anesthesia care. Patients are monitored closely during the general anesthesia procedures by personnel who are trained to manage situations which may arise during surgery. Our pediatric team will discuss the benefits and risks involved in general anesthesia and why it is recommended for your child.

What special considerations are associated with the general anesthesia appointment?

A physical examination is required prior to general anesthesia for dental care from your child’s pediatrician or family physician. This physical examination provides information to ensure the safety of your child during the general anesthesia procedure. Your pediatric dentist and/or your general anesthesia provider will advise you about evaluation appointments that are required.

Parents are instructed to report to the pediatric dentist any illness that occurs prior to the general anesthesia appointment. It may be necessary to reschedule the appointment due the child’s illness. It is very important to follow instructions regarding preoperative fasting from fluids and foods. Your child should get plenty of rest the night before surgery. Remove any of your child’s jewelry or fingernail polish prior to the day of surgery.

Do not allow your child to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the surgery. If your child has an afternoon appointment, special instructions will be given when the pre-operative call is made the day before surgery.

Patients are usually tired following the surgery. Post-operative dietary recommendations will be given. Your child will be discharged when alert and ready to depart. You will be instructed to let the child rest at home with minimal activity planned until the next day. Please have a parent or legal guardian in attendance at the surgery center who can escort the child home and remain with them for 24 hours after surgery. Parents/legal guardians must remain at the facility during the procedure.

Patients may be asked to rate their pain after surgery using the scale below. It can be helpful to review with your child prior to surgery.