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Why go to the hospital for dental treatment?

Sometimes, it can be difficult or impossible to perform dental treatment in the traditional office setting. This can be due to several reasons, including very young children with significant dental needs, persons with extreme mental and/or physical challenges, behavior disorder, etc. To ensure that the needed treatment is rendered to the highest quality, comfort and safety possible, Dr. Jeter will sometimes recommend that treatment be completed in the hospital setting under general anesthesia at Cabell Huntington Hospital or King's Daughters Medical Center.

What is general anesthesia?

General anesthesia is the technique used to make a person become unconscious or “asleep” in order to perform a medical procedure. Usually, general anesthesia is associated with surgeries, including dental restorative treatment and extractions.

While no medical or dental surgery with general anesthesia can be guaranteed to be completely without risk, most patients experience little to no complication.

Preparing for dental treatment under general anesthesia…

Our goal is to make dental treatment under general anesthesia as stress-free and risk-free as possible. Therefore, there are several things which must be accomplished before treatment is performed.

A thorough medical examination and preoperative testing must be completed prior to the treatment date. These will be thoroughly explained to you at the consultation appointment with Dr. Jeter. They are also specifically outlined in the physician’s letter portion of your information packet. It is also very important that patients not have anything to eat or drink for at least six hours prior to the procedure. Usually, this means no food or drink after midnight the night before the scheduled date of treatment.

You should plan to arrive at the hospital two hours before the scheduled time of your dental treatment. This will allow enough time for hospital staff to get you ready for your procedure and for any other evaluation or testing that might be necessary.

Family members are permitted to stay with patients up to the time that they are transported to the surgical area.

After your dental treatment is completed…

After the treatment in the operating room has been finished, patients will be transported to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) to receive further care and monitoring while waking up. This usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes. During this time, Dr. Jeter will come to the waiting area to speak with the patient’s family.

When the patient is awake and stable, they will be returned to the surgery holding area. At this time, family members can rejoin the patient until they are discharged. Post-treatment care instructions and any prescriptions that Dr. Jeter has issued will be given and explained at this time. Dr. Jeter may wish to see the patient within a few days to several months for follow-up.

Back home…

Remember, just because we’ve treated all of the dental problems that are present right now that does not mean that new decay cannot form. It is extremely important that we work hard as a team to keep new problems from arising.

This means:

  1. Reducing the dietary sugar content, substituting healthy foods for unhealthy “junk” foods.

  2. Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste at least three times a day.

  3. Keeping appointments for periodic recall exams and professional dental cleanings. Call our office anytime you suspect that a dental problem is occurring.

Important things to remember about hospital dentistry and general anesthesia

  1. Your physician or pediatrician must complete a physical exam with clearance for surgery within 30 days of the scheduled date of treatment. A copy needs to be faxed or mailed to our office no later than the Wednesday before treatment.

  2. Pre-registration for your procedure needs to be done at the hospital no later than the week of treatment. Blood work will usually be obtained at this time.

  3. Call our office immediately if there is any onset of illness or other symptoms (such as coughing, runny nose, and sore throat) prior to the day of treatment.

  4. Make sure you don’t have anything to eat or drink for at least six hours (usually not after midnight) prior to your procedure.