General Anesthesia

Pediatric Dental Surgical Associates

About General Anesthesia

General anesthesia (GA) is a medical procedure using inhalational general anesthetic that bring about a reversible loss of consciousness and analgesia, in order for surgeons to operate on a patient, utilizing a safe airway.  This allows our surgeons to perform safe and humane dental care.

Why General Anesthesia?

Dental treatment under GA is an effective way to provide medically necessary care to those children who may be cognitively immature, highly anxious or fearful, have special needs, or medically-compromised and unable to receive treatment in a traditional office setting.

Delivering dental treatment under GA can have significant positive effects on the quality of life for children and their families and can improve access to dental care. GA may be medically necessary when treating some dental patients and, therefore, should be included as an essential health benefit under both public and private medical insurance coverage for children.

While GA is necessary for only a small subset of pediatric dental patients, insurance coverage is indispensable for these children so that necessary dental procedures can be accomplished in a humane, socially appropriate, efficacious, and safe manner.

Who Benefits from General Anesthesia?

Some children and patients with special health care needs have treatment conditions, acute situational anxiety, uncooperative age-appropriate behavior, immature cognitive functioning, disabilities, or medical conditions that require GA to undergo dental procedures in a safe and humane fashion.

Included in this group are infants and children who have not yet developed the ability to comprehend the need for their treatment nor the effective and appropriate skills to cope with invasive and potentially uncomfortable and psychologically threatening procedures.

Research indicates that GA has additional benefits to children and families, including:

  • Improvement in the quality of life by allowing for extensive dental rehabilitation in children who are experiencing dental pain and difficulties in eating and sleeping, and whose parents have concerns related to the child’s nutrition and behavior.
  • Facilitating dental access for very young patients, patients with special health care needs and/or patients with a high degree of dental fear or anxiety.
  • Significantly less burden on insurance companies, hospitals, ERs, FQHCs

About 16% of all general anesthetics administered in the United States annually are administered in order to provide dental care.