Certain dental problems in children might require a surgical procedure. In some cases, dental surgery involves using anaesthesia or sedation. While the thought of your children undergoing surgery might make you anxious, knowing what to expect beforehand can calm your fears. You’ll also be able to better prepare your children for surgery, which can help them feel less nervous about it.
General or localised anaesthesia during surgery
Depending on the type of surgery your child needs, the dentist might use localised or general anaesthesia. Localised anaesthesia numbs only the surgical site, while general anaesthesia puts your child to sleep through sedation. Dentists use general anaesthesia only in cases where it’s needed to ensure the success of the surgery and safety of the child, which is typically for more complex types of dental surgery. Fillings and other minor forms of surgery can usually be done with localised anaesthesia. In either case, your child’s dentist will wait until the anaesthesia has taken effect before beginning the procedure.
Questions and concerns
Remember to address any concerns you have with your child’s dentist before surgery to help ease your mind. The dentist should go over details about the procedure and explain what will be done. You should also receive pre-surgery instructions to ensure your child is prepared for surgery.
Once the procedure is done, your child might have sore gums for several days afterwards. Your dentist may advise the eating of soft foods for a few hours after surgery, especially if your child is feeling dizzy or nauseous. Your child’s mouth might feel numb for up to an hour after surgery, which might make them feel anxious. Explain to your child that this is a normal part of surgery and that the sensation will go away.
After undergoing dental surgery, some children experience soreness or sensitivity in the gums. If your child’s gums are sore, an over-the-counter pain reliever for children can ease this discomfort. It’s important to call your dentist if your child has any of the following for one or more days after the procedure:
- worsening pain
- severe bleeding
These symptoms can indicate an infection or other serious side effects of surgery that requires prompt treatment. Keep in mind that these side effects are rare. In most cases, children recover quickly and safely from surgery.