General anesthesia for dentistry provides a safe and effective method for treating dental conditions in patients that request or require care while they are unconscious and relaxed. There are several indications for the use of general anesthesia during dental treatments. Indications vary from the presence of severe dental anxiety and phobias, to developmental disabilities. General anesthesia allows the dentist to work thoroughly and carefully to treat dental conditions under the supervision of an anesthesiologist.
Indications for General Anesthesia
Patients with the following four disabilities will benefit and often require general anesthesia during dental treatment:
Motor Function & Coordination Conditions
Disabilities involving motor function and coordination can make brushing and flossing teeth difficult and sometimes impossible depending on the severity of the disability. Unfortunately, this increases the prevalence of caries and other oral health issues. Therefore, patients with motor function and coordination disabilities have an increased need for dental interventions. If the patient has trouble tolerating dental treatments, sedation dentistry or general anesthesia dentistry may be recommended on a case-by-case basis.
Conditions that are characterized by motor function & coordination disabilities include (but are not limited to):
- Cerebral Palsy
- Paraplegia or Quadriplegia
- Broken limbs or fingers (necessary for brushing/flossing)
- Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)
- Down’s Syndrome
People with sensory sensitivities may have a hard time tolerating dental treatments due to the sounds of electric dental tools, sensations, smells, tastes and visual cues. While some dentists are trained in caring for patients with specific healthcare needs, sometimes all of the stimulation can be too much to handle. If patients become combative and over-reactive, general anesthesia can provide a solution that immensely benefits the patient’s well-being.
Conditions that are characterized by sensory sensitivity symptoms include (but are not limited to):
- Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
- Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Specific Phobias
Intellectual Disabilities make it much harder for people to understand, comprehend and execute daily activities such as brushing and flossing their teeth. Furthermore, some conditions also present with physical deformities in the jaw and oral palate as well as motor disabilities. For example, over 70% of patients with down’s syndrome present with cross-bite and more than 90% have gum disease.
As patients with intellectual disabilities may have trouble understanding what is happening to them during their dental appointment, they may become combative and uncooperative. Using anesthesia during dental treatments can eliminate any and all combative behavior to successfully treat existing oral health issues.
Conditions that are characterized by intellectual disabilities include (but are not limited to):
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWD)
- Fragile X Syndrome (FXS)
- Developmental delay
- Mental Retardation
- Down’s Syndrome
Epileptic conditions can quickly become a hazard to the patient’s well being during dental appointments. Sudden jerking movements and uncontrollable episodes can easily send a dentist’s hand to the wrong section of the mouth with a sharp tool. Often times general anesthesia is recommended for those with these conditions, as it allows the dentist to complete the necessary treatments while the patient is unconscious to reduce the risk of a seizure.
Advanced DDS has an experienced, on-site dental anesthesiologist to provide general anesthesia for dental patients of all healthcare needs in a calm and compassionate office setting. Schedule an appointment at 516-825-1100 for your consultation.