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GENERAL ANESTHESIA

Children's Dental Anesthesia in Gulfport & Pascagoula, MS


What is general anesthesia?

General anesthesia is a medication induced absence of consciousness (“knocked-out”) in which the child is not arousable. This type of sedation takes place under the care of a highly trained dental anesthesiologist typically in the dental office. The anesthesiologist is separate from the dentist which allows the dentist to focus solely on the procedure.

A child undergoing general anesthesia is completely asleep (unconscious) and will feel no pain throughout the procedure. The child will also have no memory of the procedure.

Does my child need general anesthesia?

If your child has extensive treatment needs, is extremely fearful, or too young for moderate (conscious) sedation, in-office general anesthesia may be recommended in order to safely complete any necessary dental treatment. Our experienced dentists will discuss with you if this is an appropriate treatment option for your child.

How is general anesthesia administered?

Your child will breathe anesthetic gases through a mask and will quickly fall asleep. After they are asleep an IV will be inserted and anesthesia medications will be delivered through it. Your child will remain asleep until their dental treatment is completed. After the procedure you will be present with your child as they wake up.


Is general anesthesia safe?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental association endorse sedation dentistry as a safe and effective option to enhance patient comfort in completing necessary dental procedures. At South Mississippi Smiles, a board-certified dental anesthesiologist will be monitoring your child’s vital signs throughout their procedure to ensure they are safely sedated.


We offer in-office general anesthesia!


At South Mississippi Smiles we are dedicated to helping your child maintain a healthy smile. To schedule an appointment for your child with one of our dentists or to learn more about sedation dentistry, please click HERE or the button below.


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All services are provided by MS licensed general dentists.

Related FAQs

Of course! Not only do we allow parents to stay with their kids during exams and most treatments, we encourage it. We have found that having a parent stay with their child lessens the anxiety for both the child, as well as the parent. Younger patients will often lay in their parent's lap during the exam to provide the most soothing experience.

Also, being with your child during their dental appointment allows the dentist and parent to discuss their child's dental health and provide realtime feedback and tips.

The only exception is during General Anesthesia. Parents are able to be with their child when they fall asleep and wake up, but not during treatment. The treatment room is small and with the dentist, dental assistant and the anesthesiologist, the room is just too crowded to provide the safest environment for your child. During this time, you are asked to wait in the lobby. The office staff will bring you updates during treatment.

For children who are too young for moderate (conscious) sedation (under 3 years), have very extensive dental treatment needs, or have severe dental anxiety, sometimes general anesthesia is recommended. During in-office general anesthesia appointments, we work with a board-certified dental anesthesiologist who administers the anesthesia.

During this appointment, your child is completely asleep, and all necessary dental treatment will be completed at one time. The dental anesthesiologist's only job is to make sure that your child is safe and comfortable throughout the procedure. This allows your pediatric dentist to concentrate solely on your child's dental needs while the anesthesiologist concentrates on your child's sedation.

If your child is scheduled for a moderate (conscious) sedation or general anesthesia appointment they must fast prior to the appointment according to these guidelines:

  • They may have a full meal up to 8 hours prior to the procedure.
  • They may have non-human milk, formula or a light meal (such as toast) up to 6 hours prior to the procedure.
  • They may have breastmilk up to 4 hours prior to the procedure.
  • They may have clear liquids (liquids you can see through) up to 2 hours prior to the procedure.

For your child’s safety their appointment will be canceled if they have not followed these guidelines.

Your child may feel sleepy for several hours after their general anesthesia appointment. They should stay inside for the remainder of the day and avoid activities that require balance or coordination (biking, swimming, playgrounds, sports).

Your child may start drinking clear liquids like water or sports drinks immediately following the appointment. Solid foods may be slowly introduced throughout the day. Avoid feeding your child meat and dairy for at least 2-3 hours.

Some side effects of general anesthesia may include a slight fever, nausea or vomiting. If any of these occur, call our office and continue to drink clear liquids. Our dentists will review with you when pain medications may be taken.

If your child has received local anesthesia to complete their dental work their lips, cheeks, and tongue will remain anesthetized (numb) for a few hours following their appointment. Because they cannot feel these areas, sometimes children will accidentally bite them which causes them to swell. It is very important to monitor your child closely after their dental appointment and remind them not to suck, bite or chew on their lips, cheeks or tongue. Cold liquids, ice packs, or frozen treats (popsicles) will help provide pain relief if this occurs. If your child has any swelling following their dental appointment, please contact our office so it can be evaluated.