The following information will help prepare your child for general anesthesia and pediatric dentistry.
General Anesthesia Information
After careful evaluation of your child’s oral condition, we have decided that the needed dental care can best be accomplished in the hospital operating room under general anesthesia. This will allow us to provide the highest quality care in a controlled environment. As a parent, you naturally will be somewhat apprehensive about your child’s hospitalization. Please read the following information and instructions carefully, to familiarize you with what to expect during the hospital stay. Please feel free to ask whatever questions you may have before you leave the clinic.
The Dental Procedure (Oral Rehabilitation)
It is an elective surgery, which means that it should be done only when your child is in optimal health. If he/she has a fever, ear infection, runny nose, bad cough, congestion, or diarrhea, please notify us immediately. Also call us immediately if your child becomes exposed to a contagious illness (such as chicken pox). We will need to reevaluate their condition, and if needed, reschedule their surgery date. Doing this early not only allows us to reappoint your child early, but also allows us to fill our limited time in the operating room with another patient with similar needs.
Getting Ready For Hospital Pediatric Dentistry
An often time, going to the hospital is a fearful situation. Children who have been prepared for the hospital experience have few behavioral problems afterwards. If asked, give your child reassuring and honest explanations to their questions. State the facts, as clearly and simply as you can in terms they can understand. A simple statement such as “while you are sleeping the dentist is going to wash and polish your teeth” is often sufficient for pre-school children. Avoid using fear-provoking words such as, hurt, needle, shot, bleed and drill. Also avoid discussing your hospital experiences in front of your child. Do make sure that your child understands that you will not leave him/her, and that you will be waiting close by.
The Pre-Admission Dental Appointment
Your next appointment will be at least one week before the scheduled surgery. At this time Dr. Girdlestone will ask you to return to the Dental Clinic to discuss with you any questions.
Generally, we prefer to have the child examined by the pediatrician and cleared for the surgery, before completing the admission procedures.
What to Expect After the Procedure
After the procedure is complete, your child will be transferred to the recovery room. At that time, we will discuss your child’s condition with you in the waiting area outside the operating rooms. When the recovery room staff is ready, you may be invited to stay with your child as he/she wakes up. Expect your child to have intermittent periods of drowsiness and hyper-excitability. Over time, these episodes will diminish. This is common with a normal recovery from the anesthetic agents.
When Can We Go Home?
We will be able to send your child home when he/she has no fever, can and has taken fluids and eaten foods without vomiting, can urinate and has no breathing problems. While most children are send home on the same day as the surgery, some may have to spend an additional night in the hospital in order to fully recover from the anesthesia.
POSTOPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS AFTER GENERAL ANESTHESIA
Following the general anesthetic used today in your child’s surgical care, several restrictions are essential during the next 24 hours.
DIET: Your child should be started on a liquid diet progressing toward a regular diet as tolerated by the child, Suggested are such things as popsicles, 7-up, water, and Jell-O. If clear liquids are tolerated, soft foods such as soup, ice cream, and mashed potatoes may be added the day of surgery, and a regular diet may be resumed the next day. It is very important for the child to consume adequate fluids during this healing period. Failure to do so may lead to dehydration, which may require rehospitalization of your child. If dental extractions or soft tissue surgery was performed, the diet should remain soft for 24 hours. Avoid foods like chips, crackers, and sucking on a straw.
ACTIVITY: Your child should not be allowed to play actively without your supervision until he/she is fully recuperated from the general anesthesia. This usually takes about 24 hours.
SUTURES: If your child receives stitches, please do not let him/her pick or pull at the stitches for the first 3-4 days. The stitches will either dissolve or will be removed at the follow-up appointment.
VOMITING: It is not unusual for a child to have episodes of vomiting after general anesthesia. This is especially so if teeth have been extracted. Mild vomiting is tolerable. If nausea and vomiting should occur, hold all foods and liquids for a short period of time (30 minutes) and then start again with clear liquids and gradually progress to regular food. If there are repeated or prolonged vomiting for more than several hours, please call us at the phone number below.
PAIN: It is unusual for a child to experience pain following a dental procedure. However, a scratchy or “dry” throat is a common response of the airway following general anesthesia. This will rapidly subside with recovery. Generally Children’s Tylenol or Motrin is sufficient for most pain related complaints for children. We may have prescribed additional medications for
additional needs and these should be taken as directed.
CARE OF THE MOUTH: Wait one day before brushing teeth (or rinsing) vigorously. A washcloth may be used to clean the mouth on the first day. If extractions were performed, a small amount of bleeding is to be expected. If the bleeding does not stop, place a gauze pad or wetted tea bag over the extraction site and have the child bite with gentle pressure for 15 minutes. If bleeding persists call you dentist.
CONTACT PHONE NUMBER: If you become concerned about anything during your child’s recovery period, either while at the hospital or after returning home, please call our dental clinic during duty hours, or call me at home.
Pediatric Dental Specialist – Dr. Stephen P. Girdlestone: 330-491-7777
FOLLOW-UP APPOINTMENT: A very important part of your child’s dental rehabilitation is the Postoperative check-up visit. At this appointment, your child will be re-evaluated and future needs and treatment plan will be discussed.
To schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentist, Dr. Steve Girdlestone, please phone 330-491-7777.