Ask the Doc: Is General Anesthesia the Only Option?

It would be great if the only dental care your kids ever needed was routine cleanings and exams. That’s the dream! But for many families, that’s just not the reality. Cavities happen. And when treatment is necessary, we want you to know that you have choices. Is General Anesthesia the only option? Absolutely not. We believe in working with parents, your knowledge of your children PLUS our knowledge of dentistry, to choose the best course of treatment for each individual child.

So what are my options?

Options will vary depending on  several factors including your child’s ability to complete treatment and the level of treatment needed. Rest assured we always have your child’s best interest at heart. We want your child to have the healthiest smile they can for a lifetime!

Option 1: Placing “Temps”

Placing a temporary material over a cavity will slow the advancement of the cavity while giving us time to gain trust with our patients and building their comfort level with us. “Temps,” or “bandaids” as we refer to them to the kids, are often a great alternative for a short time until the child is ready for routine treatment.

Option 2: Routine Treatment

These appointments are performed in both our Bremerton and Port Orchard offices every single day. Often treatment is completed using “happy gas” (aka Nitrous Oxide) and “sleepy juice” (aka a local anesthetic), and in special cases we can prescribe a mild sedative if a little more help is necessary. Routine treatment appoints typically last one hour. This option is best when your child is able to sit for treatment. If they are too young to sit for an hour or too fearful of the treatment needed, your doctor may recommend General Anesthesia.

Option 3: General Anesthesia (GA)

There are times when General Anesthesia is the right choice.  In cases where extensive treatment is needed, if a patient is too young to sit for routine treatment, or if they are extremely apprehensive and other options haven’t worked then General Anesthesia may be the best option.

In most cases, we provide services in-office in coordination with one of two highly skilled anesthesiologists in our surgical suite.* A GA appointment is a special type off appointment that will require additional paperwork to be filed and special instructions to be closely followed by patients and families. We take these cases very seriously, and we want parents to feel comfortable with this treatment option if it becomes necessary.

The bottom line is that we want to give parents as many realistic options as possible and create a treatment plan together that provides the very best treatment for your child.

*In some cases we provide General Anesthesia through the local hospital.