Pediatric Dentists are trained in all aspects of child oral health, including privileges at the Hospital. Currently Dr. Rachel and Dr. Greg have block time reserved at Harmony Surgery Center to treat special needs children and adults and young children in need of hospital dentistry.
What Is Hospital Dentistry?
Hospital Dentistry should be thought of as a treatment of last resort for the dental needs of children. The vast majority of kids can be treated in an office setting with plenty of TLC, modern medicines and techniques. The benefits of in office treatment are cost, conservative treatment, confidence building for children and less time out of school and work. Since hospital work on block time, hospital dentistry may delay treatment that could result in more work.
After caring for children for 25 years, Dr. Greg can unequivocally tell you most kids go to the hospital or have dentistry done under general anesthesia for the convenience of the dentist. But if you have a very young child who is pre-cooperative, she needs a procedure that will last more than an hour or multiple treatment needs, or a child who cannot learn or tolerate an office setting, hospital dentistry can be a godsend.
What is the procedure for Hospital Dentistry?
When a child is deemed eligible to go to the hospital a complex set of steps are triggered. After a careful evaluation of the child in the office, and consultation with the parents and a clear understanding of what to expect, the block time is reserved. We only do cases in the morning because kids can have nothing to eat before treatment. The parents need to attain a medical Health and Physical to sign off for surgery, we do a separate consent with all questions answered and a clear understanding of insurance coverage with a predetermination. On hospital day, parents and patient come an hour before the scheduled surgery for another physician exam and then dental treatment is done in an operating room for maximum safety. Xrays can be done in surgery, and all treatment is completed while the child is asleep. Unlike adult surgery, most children have a fun time in the hospital with stickers and toys and then a brief inhalation of sleeping gas to go to “sleep” or become unconscious. After this Mask Induction, an I.V. is placed and the child is closely attended by an anesthetist and scrub nurse while Dr.Rachel or Greg complete the dental work. The child wakes in the PACU in usually under 90 minutes time, and goes home within an hour when recovered from the anesthesia. Big Grins does a two week follow up to make sure all extraction sites have healed and make a pleasant “no treatment” visit for the child to reinforce positive experiences.
When Is Hospital Dentistry Needed?
Hospital dentistry is for kids who need long and extensive dental procedures that require general anesthesia. The anesthesia will enable the dentist to perform the necessary treatment while your child is sleeping. It will also help with pain management and muscle relaxation, making your child more comfortable.
Hospital dentistry is also sometimes used with kids that have behavioral issues when presented in a normal dental office setting.
What Happens During a Child’s Hospital Dentistry Visit?
During a hospital dentistry visit, your child will meet with the pediatric anesthesiologist before the procedure to help keep them calm and relaxed throughout the pre-surgery process. Once your child is put under, he or she will sleep through the entire procedure and won’t remember a thing.
Before your visit, you will be instructed to not allow your child to eat or drink anything after a specific time the night before the procedure so as not to interfere with the anesthesia. After the procedure has been completed, your child will only need to stay in the hospital until the anesthesia has worn off and the medical team clears him or her to go home. Of course, there are times when this could differ. Your pediatric dentist will talk with you about what’s best for your child’s specific medical situation.
How Can I Help Keep My Child from Fearing the Hospital Dental Procedure?
A hospital is a scary place for kids and adults, for that matter. However, you should be prepared to be at the hospital with your child prior to their dental procedure. Your presence will help keep them calm, reduce their anxiety, and make them feel safe and secure.
You should also bring a comfort item with them to the surgery. A stuffed animal, security blanket, or anything else that generally helps keep your child calm. Additionally, you should hold your child’s hand and gently talk to them as he or she is being put under anesthesia.
Prior to the general anesthesia, your child might be given a mild sedative to make them feel more relaxed. The anesthesiologist will go over this with you prior to the procedure after they have reviewed your child’s temperament and medical history. If the dentist and anesthesiologist don’t feel it’s necessary, the sedative won’t be given.
If you want more information about hospital dentistry or if you need a dentist in Fort Collins, CO, please Contact Big Grins today. We have been practicing pediatric dentistry since 1998 and have lots of experience working with kids in a dental office and hospital dentistry setting. This means thinking like a kid, adding loads of patience, and a lot of repetition.