Outpatient General Anesthesia

Outpatient general anesthesiais recommended for very young children, apprehensive children, and children with special needs/or disabilities that would not work well under conscious sedation or with intravenous (I.V.) sedation. General anesthesia is a stronger type of sedation and will result in your child being completely asleep. General Anesthesia would be the same as if he/she was having a standard surgical procedure, such as implementation of ear tubes, tonsil removal or hernia repair.

This is only performed in a hospital or outpatient setting. Certainly, the assumed risks are greater than that of other treatment options. However, please keep in mind that if this type of sedation is suggested for your child by Dr. Riehs, the potential benefits have been deemed to outweigh the risks. Dr. Riehs’ suggestions are carefully thought out, and are in the best interest of the child (depending on that child’s needs) as well as the procedure or treatment prescribed.

Most pediatric medical literature places the risk of a serious reaction in the range of 1 in 25,000 to 1 in 200,000, which is far better than the assumed risk of even driving a car daily. If this type of sedation is recommended, but not chosen, the inherent risks are multiple appointments, potential for physical restraint to complete treatment and possible emotional and/or physical injury to your child in order to complete their dental needs. The risks of NO treatment include tooth pain, swelling, and infection, the spread of new decay, damage to developing adult teeth and possible hospitalization from dental infection.

Preparing for your child’s appointment:

  • Do not allow your child to have milk or solid food after midnight prior to the scheduled procedure and clear liquids ONLY (i.e. water, apple juice, Gatorade) for up to 6 hours prior to the appointment.
  • Please inform the office of any change in your child’s medical condition and/or health. If your child has a fever, ear infection or cold do not bring your child. If your, child becomes ill, please contact the office to see if it is necessary to postpone the appointment. We will be more than happy to re-schedule.
  • It is necessary that you tell the doctor of any drugs that your child is currently taking (prescription medicines or herbal supplements or vitamins) and any drug reactions and/or change(s) in medical history.
  • Please dress your child in comfortable, loose fitting clothing.
  • The child’s parent or legal guardian must remain at the hospital or surgical site waiting room during the entire procedure.
  • Please call our office with any questions or concerns. We are happy to assist you and answer any questions you might have.

After care for appointments utilizing general anesthesia:

Your child will need to be monitored very closely because he/she will be drowsy.  Your child will need to be kept away from areas of potential harm.
Your child may want to sleep; if so place him/her on their side with their chin up.
Wake your child every hour and give them to have something to drink in order to prevent dehydration. In the beginning, it is best to give your child sips of clear liquids to prevent nausea. The first meal should be easily digestible and light.
If your child vomits, to insure that they do not inhale the vomit, bend them over and turn their head to the side.
Before leaving the hospital/outpatient center, you will be given written “post-op instructions” and an emergency contact number.


The  American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends visits to the dentist every six months, beginning at your child’s first birthday. Routine visits will teach and prepare your child for a lifetime of good dental health.