Dental Operating Room Services for Children with Special Needs
Children with special needs who are unable to tolerate a routine dental visit often require treatment under general anesthesia for a comprehensive oral examination and a full mouth series of x-rays in order to diagnose any dental pathology. Other prevalent reasons for treatment under general anesthesia for children with special needs include:
- Scaling of the teeth to remove tarter (calculus) build-up that accumulates because a patient has had poor oral hygiene due to inability to tolerate home dental care, or due to a prolonged illness that did not allow for proper maintenance of oral health. Some children may be on certain medications that cause the gums to over-grow the teeth if their hygiene is not adequate. These children may require scaling of the teeth as well as a gum surgery to correct this condition.
- Fractured teeth requiring fillings or extractions that result from falls which can be more common for children who are nonambulatory or semi-ambulatory.
- Dental decay due to feeding difficulties that necessitates the administration of high caloric substances which promote tooth decay.
- Corrective procedures for children who have syndromes with a neurological dysfunction and may have severe wear of their teeth due to grinding or clenching, also known as bruxism.
- Extraction of the teeth under general anesthesia to allow for the eruption of the permanent teeth for children who have low oral-motor muscle tone or who do not feed orally and may have difficulty with shedding their primary teeth. Additionally, general anesthesia can be indicated for children with severe anxiety who have an inability to cooperate due to their age, compromised health, special needs or extensive dental needs. It is indicated for those patients that routine dental care using non-pharmacologic behavior modification techniques are not a viable approach because of their extensive treatment needs, situational anxiety, uncooperative behavior, immature cognitive functioning, disabilities or medical conditions that would benefit from treatment under general anesthesia.
–Elizabeth Bortell, DDS, Director of the Pediatric Dental Program
Originally published in Early Edition Vol. X, No. 4
Return to Previous Page
The information on this site is provided for informational and educational purposes only; it does not contain specific medical advice. If you have specific health questions or problems, consult a health care professional for personal medical advice.