What is general anesthesia?
General anesthesia is the state of pharmacologically induced “sleep”. The aim of general anesthesia administration is to provide a lack of sensation and to ensure amnesia (no memory) and analgesia (no pain).

When and why is general anesthesia used in this office?
General anesthesia may be recommended for your child for several reasons. Most commonly at Playhouse Dental, general anesthesia is recommended when a child is very young, very fearful, uncooperative or has special circumstances that will not allow them to cooperate for needed treatment.

It is our goal to provide safe, excellent care (in that order) and to provide a non-traumatic experience for our patients. Sometimes, this is only possible through the use of general anesthesia.

Who provides dental care under general anesthesia in our office?
Dr. Sarah Hill, Dr. Joseph Stout and Dr. Marc Horton can provide the dental treatment for your child. These dentists are highly trained in the field of outpatient dental anesthesia and are happy to answer ANY questions you might have about outpatient general anesthesia. They have been treating pediatric dental patients under general anesthesia for a combined total of 23 years.

When and where will the surgery take place?
Most often, these surgeries occur every other Friday in our Anacortes office.   You are usually on your way home about 3 hours after arrival. Rarely,  if your child is higher risk, you will be referred to Seattle Children’s Hospital or MaryBridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma on an outpatient basis. You and your child will check in that morning, and go home about 4-5 hours later.

How safe is general anesthesia?
In our Anacortes office, the anesthesia is provided by one of two board certified M.D. anesthesiologist groups:  M2 Anesthesia or “The Dream Team”.  Outpatient general anesthesia is considered very safe and has an excellent safety record when administered by qualified and experienced providers. There are risks inherent in every type of procedure including anesthesia but these risks are minimal with highly trained providers and a child who is healthy and has had NOTHING to eat on the day of surgery.

An anesthesiologist — a doctor who specializes in anesthesia— 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.

If your child has any special needs or health issues that you feel the dentist and anesthesiologist need to know about, please tell Drs. Hill/Stout/Horton before the procedure so that they might arrange a consult with one of the anesthesiologists.

If your child has developed a cold, fever, productive cough or other condition that makes it hard to breathe through the nose, the procedure may have to be rescheduled. It is important to notify us ASAP about any change in your child’s health.

It is NORMAL to be concerned about your child “going to sleep” to have their dental work done.  Answers to common concerns that parents have may be found here, and can also be addressed with the anesthesiologist directly.

2017 Media Article about the use of general anesthesia in toddlers.