To facilitate comprehensive dental treatment necessary for good health, children and adults with special health care needs may require treatment in a hospital with the aid of general anesthesia. Why? These patients may not be able to cooperate due to a lack of psychological or emotional maturity and/or intellectual, physical or medical disability. They may express a greater level of anxiety about dental care than those without a disability. General anesthesia also may be the safest approach for some special needs patients as it can reduce their risk for medical complications.
Young children also may benefit from hospital care to treat significant dental disease. The patient’s age, extent of dental needs, and/or acute situational anxiety may prevent the patient from being treated safely in a traditional outpatient setting. General anesthesia may be necessary to protect the child’s developing psyche.