Dental surgery, also known as “sleep dentistry,” is the performance of dental procedures while the patient is under general anesthesia (or “asleep”). Dental surgery is not recommended for all patients, but when necessary, it can ensure patients obtain the dental and restorative services they require in a calm, comfortable, and safe environment.
At Children’s Dental Health, sleep dentistry is performed at one of three dental surgery centers, in partnership with our sister company, Children’s Surgical Centers. These dental surgery centers offer a hospital-like setting for doctors to perform procedures in a safe, controlled environment, accredited by the AAHC. These centers are also staffed by clinical professionals who have deep expertise in sleep dentistry, such as board-certified anesthesiologists, pediatric dentists, registered nurses, and LPNs.
There are a number of factors that help our dentists determine if a child would benefit from being treated at a surgery center, including age, behavior, and the amount of work required. The three main types of patients are:
- Young children who need significant dental work. For example, if a child is unable to sit still to have x-rays taken in the office, they will struggle to remain relaxed and cooperative for a dental procedure that can take 30 minutes or more. A child who is unable to remain still will put themselves at risk for accidental injury during procedures.
- Children who are afraid and experience anxiety. These patients will also struggle to sit in a dental chair, and their fear of the dentist will likely increase if procedures are performed while they are awake.
- Patients who are physically and/or mentally handicapped. These children may also be unable to remain still or have anxiety.
Sleep dentistry can help alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in young patients so that they no longer fear going to the dentist. It can also improve safety, as it’s important for patients to sit very still during dental procedures in order for dentists to use instruments and mechanical equipment safely. If children are unable to remain still and calm, then sleep dentistry may be the best option. The safety of children is always our priority—our anesthesiologists are state- and board-certified. We also have RNs present in the room at all times while patients are in surgery.
To learn more about our dental surgery centers, visit Children’s Surgical Centers.