Many children may require extensive dental restoration. No matter how gentle, calming, and experienced the dentist and their staff is it might be impossible to easily complete this restoration. Multiple visits might be required to achieve the necessary care. If any of these visits is too stressful the care might be interrupted. Under anesthesia the same care that might require 4 separate visits will be done in just one visit.
What about “conscious” sedation?
The idea that a young child can be put into a twilight state where they are safe and extensive oral rehabilitation can occur is misinformed. In our professional experience the line where a child crosses from “conscious sedation “ ( where they are cooperative, comfortable, and have a competent airway) to a state of general anesthesia (where they require full monitoring and a secured airway) is incredibly unpredictable. Most reported cases of mishap in dental settings are the result of crossing this line without the proper level of monitoring and expertise. We have advocated for there to be a separate professional to do monitoring and administer medications in children 10 and under.
Why restore “baby” teeth, don’t they fall out?
The baby teeth will fall out. But along the way the teeth and gums could become grossly infected and abscessed . This will affect the child’s overall health. It will often prevent them from getting adequate nutrition. The infection may spread into the cardiovascular system. The infected teeth may lead to facial cellulitis. Having the permanent teeth erupt into these infected areas may lead to infection in them as well.
How safe is anesthesia?
Certainly there are minor risks associated with anesthesia such as rashes from medications, nausea and vomiting, sore throat etc.... These are not long lasting and resolve themselves with little to no intervention. More serious complications such as death or permanent disability are extremely rare. We usually give an example such as driving your car to the grocery or driving in to see the dentist as a similar risk profile. Most of the time you will arrive at your destination without incident. That doesn’t mean that people have never had unexpected life threatening accidents. It just means they are highly unlikely. Nobody can tell you that your child does not have an unusual problem with heart rhythms or some unusual undiagnosed medical condition that becomes evident under anesthesia. We are fully monitoring your child throughout the procedure. We bring emergency medications to stabilize any unusual circumstance. Anesthesiologists are like short term intensive care doctors.
Do we take insurance?
We do not involve ourselves with the insurance companies regarding pre-authorizations or payments directly from them. Most good insurance companies will see that the bill you received from us is significantly less than the $15,000 charge they would receive from a hospital. In most cases the deductible that the insurance company would have you pay would come close to covering the majority of the cost from our anesthesia services. On your bill all the relevant codes and descriptors to provide your insurance company are present.