What do you think about dental procedure involving anesthesia on a toddler?

Yessenia - posted on 02/12/2012 ( 39 moms have responded )

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My child is 2 years old and last week she had a dental appointment. It didnt go so well because I learned that my child had a few cavities and the dentist now wants to crown those cavities but the dental procedure is going to involve general anesthesia. Im worried about it so I would like to know if any other moms have been through this and how was your experience as a well as your childs.

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Cynthia - posted on 02/13/2012

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this was the worst thing i've done to my son. if i could go back i would rather he have the cavities

Lacey - posted on 10/21/2012

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Im a pediatric dental assistant, for 7.5 yrs now. The reason for GA is usually because the child won't be cooperative. It would not be safe to work on a child moving around. The office I work for, we do not hold kids down. We want them to have a positive experience. As for GA is very safe and a all work gets done in one apptointment, verses 3 or 4. They go hone the same day and are fine later in evening. It's also good for kids who are autistic or special needs. Or just have anxiety over dental offices. I hope this helps.

Stacyee - posted on 02/14/2012

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If a child is older, I'd recommend that you try first with local anasthetic, but since your child is only 2, I would definitely have them all done at once with general. It will be MUCH less traumatic. Young children are REALLY difficult to work on (even for pediatric dentists), but when they are that young, they don't understand why this needs to be done. I have worked in the dental field for over 20 years and my husband is a dentist, so I do have first hand knowledge on the subject. If the teeth are so decayed that they need crowns/root canals (pulpotomy/pulpectomy) then they certainly should not wait as infection may become an issue, which can also affect the permanent teeth that are developing. Does she have a bottle at night? My best advice is if she does, then only give her water as milk will decay the teeth severely. And also it is very important to save the baby teeth vs having them extracted because baby teeth keep the teeth in proper alignment until the adult teeth are ready to come in. (minimizing the chances of very expensive braces later!) I hope this helps. Good luck!

Lynn - posted on 02/17/2012

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I definetely agree with PP's to make sure that you're going to a pediatric dentist, and get a second opinion. If you do decide to go ahead with the procedure, your daughter may need the general anesthesia so she isn't scared and moving around while the dentist is working. Our pediatric dentist does general for some kids, for some procedures. My son (ten) gags when they try to take x-rays, and had two cavitities in the far back teeth. They had to give him "sleepy gas" (he was awake, but relaxed) so they could fill them and my son wouldn't throw up. Worked just fine.



My son has had six surgeries for his ear tubes (four times now!), adenoids, and eye surgery (when he was only 3). He had general anethesia for the eye and throat surgeries. I was pretty worried the first time, because he was so young, but he came through it just fine. He was sleepy, and always throws up afterwards, but that's it.



Don't let the worry about the anesthesia stop you from getting your daughter the dental care she needs.

Amy - posted on 09/10/2012

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hi my name is Dr.Amy and i am a anesthesiologist dentist. if you really don't want your child to be under anesthesia, you should really get a second opinion. But usually, it is better for the child to be under anesthesia so they don't feel the pain and get traumatize. If you are living in the California area, give me a call at 626-288-8008. i will answer all of your concerns.

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Gloria - posted on 10/27/2012

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My daughter had it done when she was 3 and she did great :>)

Aziza - posted on 10/27/2012

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My son was 6 when he had general anesthesia to take care of his cavities, I was worried, but everything happened in front of my eyes, he was ok, it took him a little bit of time to wake up, but he was fine, I take him now every 6 months for fluoride and cleaning.

Beth - posted on 02/16/2012

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my friend took her DD to the dentist for the first time at 3.5yo and they found 6 cavities. One was able to be "filled" quickly and in the office without trauma. BUT the rest were done under GA at a hospital by a ped oral surgeon to get it done in one shot and with the least amt of trauma.



You want your child healthy. The longer a cavity sits the more option you have to let an abcess develop or a bone infection set in. I understand they may be 'just baby teeth' but get a second opinion and then remember- You NEED your child to WANT to go to the dentist because you should be getting teeth cleaned every 6months and do not want to battle that besides more cavities from not going...



GOOD LUCK!

Marlene - posted on 02/16/2012

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My daughter had dental surgery when she was 4 yrs old,because the enamal was coming of of her teeth due to an antibiotic she got when she was under a yr old for ear infection.Thank goodness we had the coverage as there were alot of caps and crowns.But I'm glad we did it as it saved her permanet teeth from the same thing.She came out of the anesthetic fine and had no problems.Good luck to you and yours...

Jennifer - posted on 02/15/2012

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Assuming your child needs crowns the amount of decay would be pretty significant, even you would notice. These crowns will be stainless steel and are quite unattractive, but will save them from future pain and perhaps horrible abcess infections. Very important for them to have use of their molars. Also find out if they will be doing pulpectomy's(child version of root canal) on these molars. The appointment itself would be too long for a child that age to sit through and could be quite traumatic. General anesthesia is the best idea for them in this circumstance. They are extremely careful and take all precautions especially with Peds dentistry. Good luck. x

Sandi - posted on 02/15/2012

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Getting a second opinion never hurts. Yes, it is extra work in the short term, but may save effort in the long term.



I have found after moving several times as an adult, that there are aggressive dentists (you will be told you have 5 or 6 cavities) and conservative dentists (is anything bothering you). I am not a dentist but it seems there is not one definition of a 'cavity'. I went to one dentist who said I had a cavity, then ended up moving and not filling it. When I settled into my new town and finally found a new dentist, over a year later, I had 'no' cavities at that dentist. Hmmm, pretty suspicious.

Another time, my 3 year old (at the time) went to the local mom's-club-friends recommended dentist who said she had 5 cavities. DH insisted we have them filled although I was very skepitcal. Dentist#1 did the first cavity but she wouldn't sit for the others. He even tried a papoose (she still moved her head). When we switched to another dentist, dentist#2 said he could not even find the place where that first dentist drilled the first cavity (it didn't need a filling, it was so small)!!!! Shadows on x-rays don't mean you have to get it filled immediately. You can wait and have a conservative dentist watch these at the next 6 month checkup. Be conservative if you can. My daughter does not like dentists after forcing her through these procedures. I know I have found an aggressive dentist when they say I have 5 or 6 cavities at the first check-up. This has happened to me enough times after moving that it seems to be a magic number. Some kids can vomit (6-7 times) over the next day after having general anesthesia.

Jen - posted on 02/15/2012

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My daughter was six when she had it done. She went to sleep and woke up, she had the crowns and she was fine she even stated that if she had to have it done again she wants to be put under.

Reshma - posted on 02/15/2012

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I'm a pediaric dentist...but first a mom. Its agonizing to discover your lil' one has cavities. I agree with most moms that you should consult a pediatric dentist, get a second opinion. Most cavities can be filled, especially with so many new dental materials. I'd rather crowns be done when your child is older, preferrably without the use of GA. While considering your options, do continue with regular tooth brushing to avoid worsening of your child's oral health.

Chantelle - posted on 02/15/2012

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My son broke a tooth when he was just under a year. Our family doctor told us "Not to worry about it, since it is just a baby tooth". After 6 months of brushing twice a day, and flossing once a week it was established that all of his top teeth now had cavities, including the new molars. They wanted to put him under general, crown the front four, and fill the two molars. I went for a second opinion, and was told that was the same thing he would prescribe. So we did it. It was hard watching him pass out with the gas, and he was rather upset when he came out of the recovery room, but he happily visits the dentist, and has no fear of the hospital where it was done.



Now that the broken tooth has been dealt with it has been a year and a half since he had the work done, we have not changed his diet or his hygiene and there have been no recurrences.



I had someone tell me I just wasn't brushing enough, when I told her the tooth kept chipping and breaking more. I offered to let her do it if she thought I was doing such a poor job because she told me I was lying about how I cared for my son's teeth. Oddly enough she declined.

[deleted account]

I've just read to Naomi's post on the first page... as a child I brushed my teeth EVERY day and my older brother hardly ever did. When I was 4 I had several cavities and he, at 7, had none. My mom says I actually called the 800 number on the Crest tube and complained. lol

Cindy - posted on 02/15/2012

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My son was 3 when he had his procedure done at St. Louis Children's Hospital. Make sure it is a Ped Dentist and Children's Hospital. I was VERY nervous, but all went well!!! Good luck

Aleida - posted on 02/14/2012

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Sherri Champagne same for my Daughter she is constantly brushing her teeth and has never been put to bed with the bottle or sippy cup. She just turned 9. I don't even keep a whole lot of sweets in my house so there is no temtation to eat it, don't get me wrong she does get very little on special occations. She had to have some teeth removed because her permanent teeth were growing in behind her baby teeth and she had to have a tooth fixed from her falling (you know how a curious toddler can be and loves to climb you can't watch them every single sec of their lives)

Sherri - posted on 02/14/2012

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Naomi sometimes it is genetics. My son is 5 brushes his teeth religiously twice a day. Doesn't drink juice go to bed with a cup or anything. At 3 he had all his molars sealed because of the huge pits in them and by 4 already had 4 cavities.



However, my husband has atrocious teeth and actually had to have them all removed and get dentures at the age of 38. It had nothing to do with not brushing, not going to the dentist etc. It simply was he had extremely soft teeth.

Naomi - posted on 02/14/2012

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I'm sorry but why are all these young children getting cavities? My little boy cleans his teeth & has his teeth cleaned at least twice a day is four years of age & has NO cavities!

Aleida - posted on 02/14/2012

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The Dentist that did the work on my Daughter's teeth was awesome. The meds that they used made her a little loopy and she couldn't walk by herself but she was awake, was aware and knew everything that was going on. Before any meds were given or any work was done they let her tour the office and see all equipment & tools and told her what everything was & what it was used to do. I would totally recommend him to anyone with young kids!!! I am glad that I had it with her. I was also able to be in the same room with her during the whole procedure. The office also gave lots of goodies (like tooth brushes that light up, balloons, stickers, temp tatoos, pencils and small toys) for her being soo good and they kept telling her "Your doing great Princess" They let her know what was going on from start to finish. He also only deals with Children and the office has different theme painted walls in every room (which helps keep the kids calm)

Erin - posted on 02/14/2012

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My son had 5 cavities so we opted to have him put under anesthetic because of the time it would take to fill them and there would be no way that he'd sit still and allow that procedure to take place if not for the anesthetic. He had no trouble after coming out of the anesthetic and was his old chipper self shortly after it wore off.

Diane - posted on 02/14/2012

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We took our son to a Pediatric dentist and when he was about 2 had to have work done. There were so many cavities to fill the dentist suggested it be done under anesthetic. I agreed that it would be very stressful for him, as they really don't know what is happening at that age, and that all the work could be done in one session, rather than returning a few times - each time he would remember the last and so forth.

I was with him when they put him out, and then they brought him to sit with me so he could wake up in my arms. He was very groggy as usual and after about 3 hours was just fine. He didn't even know what had happened. Now he is 6 and is going for his first filling tomorrow. I'm a little worried, mostly cause I hate dentists, but he will be fine as he has no recollection of what had gone on in the past.

Frankly, it was allot harder on me to see him through it, than it was for him. I would do it again.

As for crowns - not sure why a 2 year old should need crowns. You might want a second opinion about that one.

Hina - posted on 02/14/2012

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When my son was 3 1/2 year old our family dentist told us that he has cavities and he tried his best to fill up in his office but he wouldn't let the dentist do it so he referred us to a pediatric dentist. He tried to do it in his office but again same my son wouldn't open his mouth so he had to give him anesthesia. It was done at children's hospital. They gave him Tylenol before going in and it took about 25 minutes for the whole procedure. He was awake by that time and all he complained about was dry mouth and funny taste. They gave him a Popsicle after that and we brought him home and he was fine after 3 hours. The doctor told us to keep him less active for the day to be on safer side but other than that it went smoothly. You need to get those cavities filled up coz they can some time damage the tooth nerve inside which is more painful then going under anesthesia. Good luck

Heather - posted on 02/14/2012

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No crowns, on a 2 year old, NO! Get second opinion. She shouldn't need anything more done than fillings. Not crowns. WOW, what a rip off. Report them to the Better Business Bureau. That's messed up if they want to put crowns on teeth with cavities. I have never, ever heard of that.

Heather - posted on 02/14/2012

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I have to say I am terrified of the dentist because of procedures as a child. However I found a pediatric dentist ~ DR. Dennis at Treasured Smiles if you are in the Frankfort area....these people are amazing. Now my kids cry when they have to leave.....they love them and being there so much!! He does all of these procedures in the office is so good with the kids they have tvs games and so much going on that my son never even realized they were doing his cavities. The environment makes such a difference in how the kids are and how the react....and therefore what they can get done...they never push a kid so the kids instantly develop a sense of trust. I would check that out first, Anest. seems extreme for cavities!!!

Ann - posted on 02/14/2012

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I agree with the others to ensure you go to a Pediatric Dentist. However, I do know if a young child needs to have several teeth filled the general thought is it is safer to use anethesia instead of novocaine. This is because you will go to a regular anethesiologist who does this all the time. There are formulas, etc for getting this right. It is not the same with novocaine. It is difficult to regulate in a child. In addition, if they are under they will not remember the experience and are less likely to have a phobia about dentists as a child sitting in a chair with their mouth open for several hours. I never had to do this with my child, but know others that did and it worked out great. Just investigate all those involved. On a side note, I would ask what might be going on to cause the cavities so you can correct anything possible. Good luck.

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I agree with everyone else, take your child to a pediatric dentist. I took my kids to 'my' dentist and they were trying to fill a tooth and ending hitting another with the drill. Then I took her to the pediatric dentist and they fixed it w no problems. Then my DD had another cavity that they were able to fill, but they did such a horrible job DD ended up with an abscess! I took her to the pediatric dentist to get it fixed (she got a crown put on w/o knocking her out) and now I take both of my girls there. I even drive an hour (one way!) to go there. It's worth it for my kids to have a good dentist who does good work. I had a friend who's son was put out for his dental work, but he had a lot that needed done, 7 cavities and 4 crowns, if I remember correctly. Also if they are on the bottom, they can only numb one side at a time (at least that's what I was told), so they may figure going under may keep from having to make several trips to the dentist. When in doubt, get a 2nd opinion or at least ask for a consult with an explanation as to why they want him put out.

Linda - posted on 02/14/2012

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See a pediatric dentist and make sure you take care of it. Rotting teeth affect the gums, can hurt, and ultimately affect the permanent teeth. And then, teach your child to brush his/her teeth really well. I'm happy to say my children have been going to the dentist since they were 3, and at 16 and 19 they have never had a cavity. I have a mouth full of fillings and caps, it's much better the other way.

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I don't know about at 2 years old, but I wouldn't have my child put under unless there was absolutely no other choice.



Of course, my almost 4 year old just had 3 cavities filled (one in the first trip, two in the second a week later). I was worried about how he would do, but it went great. He was whimpering in the chair, but when we walked out the door he said he had fun. ♥ lol silly boy!



Good luck!

Katrin - posted on 02/14/2012

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Make sure you are going to a CERTIFIED PEDIATRIC DENTIST! This requires specialized training, so just because a dentist treats kids does not mean he has had this training...That being said, why can't they fill them instead? My son had two filled at once when he was 3. They gave him a little gas and numbed his gums before injecting the novacaine. He was awake and relaxed the whole time (I was holding his hand) and listened to music on my ipod and did not even seem to notice the procedure. Get a second opinion from a certified peds dentist before considering this.

Sally - posted on 02/14/2012

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I would have a long talk with this dentist and with a dentist who has no financial stake in the procedure and get on the internet. You need to know if this absolutely needs to be fixed now or if it can wait until she's a bit older. You need to know if there is any less invasive way to fix it and if there is any less drastic way to numb her. After you have all the information, you will be able to decide what is best for your personal child.

Good luck

Sylvia - posted on 02/13/2012

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I'd get a second opinion. When my DD was around this age and needed cavities filled my dentist thought it would need to be done under general anaesthesia, but she referred us to a paediatric dentist who did them in his office with no anaesthesia. (These were just fillings, not crowns, and they were in her front teeth; when she needed a filling in a baby molar a few years later, he did use local anaesthetic. She was WAY more traumatized by the anaesthetic than by those original fillings -- she hates the way her mouth feels when it's half frozen -- but since she doesn't understand how much it would hurt to have a molar filled without the anaesthetic, it's not really a fair comparison!) Sometimes it's a question of how good the dentist is at working with little kids.



If it's a choice between local and general anaesthesia, though, I think I'd be inclined to go with the general. It's way scarier for the parent than for the child -- I don't know if you've ever had general anaesthesia, but it really is like going to sleep and waking up 2 seconds later -- and there isn't the whole issue of somebody sticking a huge scary needle into your sensitive gum tissue, and you don't see or hear the drilling (another thing DD really hated, and it still freaks her out a bit, was the sound of the drill).



It's important to do something about the cavities, even though they're in baby teeth, because the rot can spread and even ultimately affect the permanent teeth. But it's not so urgent that you have to make a decision right this second, so it's worth getting another opinion and looking into alternatives.

Bev - posted on 02/13/2012

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Can't the cavities just be filled? That would seem to be a simpler procedure.

Sherri - posted on 02/13/2012

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My son was put under general at 5. He was cranky coming out of it but other than that it was great.

Amy - posted on 02/13/2012

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My son had to get crowns when he was about 3, they do it this way so that it is less traumatic for the child & also so they don't end up with a fear of dentists. My son had his done at Children's Hospital not a dentist office. He was fussy when he came out of anestesia but by bed time that night was better & the next day was his usual self. We had no problems & my son enjoys going to the dentist so it worked as far as the no fear part :) Good luck!

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