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At UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, we believe parents and guardians can contribute to the success of these procedures and invite you to participate. Please read the following information to learn about this medication, its possible use for your child’s dental procedure, and how you can help.
To keep your child safe and comfortable during a dental procedure, your child’s dentist might decide to use general anesthesia in the operating room. General anesthesia also may be used if your child needs extensive or complicated procedures that will take a long time to complete, or needs several procedures done all at the same time. A pediatric anesthesiologist — a doctor who specializes in anesthesia for children — will give your child the medications that will make him or her sleep soundly during the procedure.
General anesthesia makes your child’s whole body go to sleep. It is needed for certain dental procedures and treatments so that his or her reflexes will be completely relaxed. Your child will feel no pain during the procedure, nor have any memory of it.
When general anesthesia is needed, there are important rules for eating and drinking that must be followed in the hours before the procedure. One business day before your child’s procedure, you will receive a phone call from a scheduling nurse. Calls are not made on weekends or holidays. Please have a pen and paper ready to write down these important instructions. The nurse will give you specific eating and drinking instructions for your child based on your child’s age.
Following are the usual instructions for eating and drinking. No matter what age your child is, you should follow the specific instructions given to you on the phone by the nurse.
For infants under 12 months:
For all children:
Once your child has been registered for the procedure, a member of the anesthesia staff will meet with you to take your child’s vital signs, weight, and medical history. As the parent or legal guardian, you will be asked to sign a consent form before the anesthesia is given.
When your child has fallen asleep, you will be taken to the waiting room.
As a parent, watching your child undergo anesthesia may be a very uncomfortable experience for you. Children can sense a parent’s concern — so for your presence to be helpful to your child, you must try to be as calm and encouraging as possible. There are ways you can help your child, even if you feel uncomfortable.
Once the procedures have been completed, your child will be taken to the recovery room where nurses will carefully check his or her vital signs. The effects of general anesthesia can last for many hours.
If your child’s gums are sensitive, Tylenol® or Motrin® will help with any discomfort. If your child experiences the following for more than 24 hours following dental surgery done with anesthesia in the operating room, you should call the dentist:
If your child has any of these symptoms, call the Dental Clinic at 412-692-5440 immediately. If you are calling during the evening or on a weekend, please call the hospital at 412-692-5325 and ask for the dental resident on call.
If your child has any special needs or health issues that you feel the dentist and anesthesiologist need to know about, please call the Department of Anesthesiology at Children’s Hospital before the procedure to ask to speak with a nurse. If your child has developed a cold, stuffy nose, or other condition that makes it hard to breathe through the nose, you will need to call Same Day Surgery and the procedure will have to be rescheduled. It is important to notify us in advance about any special needs your child might have.
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
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