How To Manage Anxiety in Children Undergoing Anesthesia

Dentist talks to child about children undergoing anesthesia

Children undergoing anesthesia deserve to have a positive experience with as little stress and anxiety as possible. However, it is natural for children to feel anxious about their upcoming surgery or procedure. As parents and caregivers, there are steps we can take to help manage this anxiety and create a calm and comfortable environment for our children. Anxiety is a normal response to a new or unfamiliar situation, and it is important for children to understand that their feelings are valid.

Clifton & Mauney Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry’s mission is to provide the highest standard of care while ensuring your child’s comfort and reducing their anxiety. To learn how we approach general anesthesia, contact us at 888.339.8108 today.

What Is Anesthesia?

Anesthesia refers to the use of medications to block the sensation of pain during medical procedures. In pediatric dentistry, general anesthesia induces a deep sleep-like state, allowing dental professionals to perform procedures without causing discomfort or distress to the child. It plays a crucial role in ensuring a positive dental experience for children, particularly those who require extensive dental work or who experience high levels of anxiety.

Explaining Anesthesia to a Child

Children often fear the unknown. Hence, explaining anesthesia to a child in a simple, reassuring manner can alleviate much of their anxiety. Use age-appropriate language and analogies that they can understand. For instance, you might liken anesthesia to a “magic sleep” where they feel nothing and wake up once the ‘tooth fixing’ is complete. Children undergoing anesthesia may also benefit from a tour of the dental office or hospital beforehand, providing them with an understanding of what to expect on the day of their procedure.

Preparing Your Child for Anesthesia

To ensure a smooth anesthesia experience for your child, follow these guidelines:

  • Discuss the procedure and anesthesia with your child early on. Clarify any concerns they might have.
  • Follow any instructions given by the dentist or anesthesiologist regarding fasting before the procedure.
  • Pack comforting items such as blankets, stuffed animals, or books to help your child feel more at ease.
  • Dress your child in comfortable clothes on the day of their procedure.
  • Stay calm and positive. Children are highly perceptive and can pick up on their parents’ emotions.
  • Be prepared to stay with your child until they are ready to go home.

The dentist and anesthesiologist play a crucial role in ensuring a safe, effective, and positive anesthesia experience for your child. They will carefully evaluate your child’s medical history and tailor the anesthetic drugs and dosage according to their specific needs.

Tips for Talking to Children Undergoing Anesthesia

When discussing anesthesia with your child, maintain a positive tone and reassure them of their safety. Encourage questions and answer them honestly but succinctly. Avoid using words like “pain” or “needle.” Instead, use phrases such as “sleepy juice” or “magic air.”

Prepare your child by explaining the process step by step. You might say, “The doctor will give you some magic air to breathe, making you very sleepy. When you wake up, all the work will be done, and you won’t remember a thing.”

Child Behavior After Anesthesia

Parents often have concerns about their child’s behavior after anesthesia. It is normal for children to experience some grogginess, irritability, or slight nausea as the anesthesia wears off. These effects are temporary and usually resolve within a few hours.

Ensure your child rests and stays hydrated post-procedure. Keep a close watch for any unusual symptoms, and do not hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns. Remember, our team is here to support you and your child before, during, and after the procedure.

Call Clifton & Mauney Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry Today

At Clifton & Mauney Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry, we understand that the thought of your child under anesthesia for dental work can be daunting. We assure you that your child’s safety and comfort are our top priorities. Our team of experienced professionals is highly trained in administering anesthesia and managing anxiety with anesthesia.

Contact us at 888.339.8108 to learn how we prioritize your child’s comfort and safety during all dental procedures. Let us work together to create a positive, stress-free experience for your child.