Mon - Fri 7:00 am - 4:00 pm (206)

Frequently asked Questions

Why can't my child eat before surgery?

Your child must have an empty stomach on the day of surgery.  The fasting rule is No food or liquids (including water) for 8 hours before the procedure.  It is very important that your child adheres to the fasting rules or the appointment may be canceled.  The reason is this: under general anesthesia, the food contents in the stomach may come up the esophagus and into the mouth, then get aspirated into the lungs. This is a very rare but serious and preventable complication.

We recommend your child not to eat or drink for 8 hours before the surgery.  However, if their surgery is late in the day they may eat/drink as the table indicates.

Fasting Rules

Please refer to the following:

Food Example HRS
Clear Liquid Water, apple juice, soda, Pedialyte, popsicles, Kool-Aid 3
Human Milk Human breast milk 4
Milk Cow, formula 6
Food Toast, cereal, orange juice 6
Meal Meats, eggs, french fries, fatty food, proteins 8

How will my child go to sleep?

One of the dental assistants, with whom your child may already be familiar, will take your child back to the treatment room, then a cherry-flavored mask is placed on his or her face. Anesthetic gas is turned on, and within a few nice deep breaths, your child quickly drifts off to sleep. An IV is started after they are asleep and so your child will not see the needle.  A breathing tube is then placed into the nose to help them breathe during surgery. Your child is kept asleep the entire time during the surgery, and prior to waking up, the IV and breathing tubes are removed.

Can I be with my child as they go to sleep?

Our policy is NOT to have parents in the treatment room.  It is up to the anesthesiologist on the day of service to make the determination.  We prefer that you are not there – here’s why:

  • Having a parent present rarely helps calm the child.
  • The treatment rooms are small and having an additional person in there makes it a tad cramped.
  • Parents tend to ask questions, which takes our focus away from the child and toward them. We want to be as safe as possible and give your child our undivided attention.
  • Of the parents that came back more than 50% say they wish they hadn’t.
  • Dr. Marlon Michel: As a father, and an anesthesiologist, I know BOTH sides, and I did not go back when my child had surgery. I wanted the staff to focus on my child and not me.

How long will it take for my child to wake up from Anesthesia?

The medications used are very modern, super short-acting anesthetics that wear off very rapidly.  The wake up process usually takes only 10-15 minutes.  As soon as it is safe, we ask you to come be with your child as they are waking up.

Why is my child grumpy or tearful after surgery?

Children may wake up grumpy and tearful after surgery. This is NOT because of pain, but because they may feel disorientated or dizzy. This may be the first time they have ever felt like this, and they are often confused. As they are awakening, it is best to talk to them and re-assure them you are at their side. Luckily for all involved, this grumpiness only lasts 5-10 minutes then goes away…..but unfortunately comes back when they become teenagers and seems to never go away 🙂

What should I expect after surgery?

  • Nosebleed: A breathing tube is used during anesthesia and may cause a nosebleed that resolves quickly.
  • Grumpiness/Crying: Agitation is common and a sense of dizziness or confusion may exist for a short while.  However, your child should not be groggy or sleepy for hours post-operative.
  • Pain: An Ibuprofen-like medication is given during surgery, so little pain should exist.  If your child does complain of pain, you may give acetaminophen (Tylenol) immediately.

When can my child eat after surgery? 

Once awake, your child can eat immediately upon returning home.  Start with liquids and then reintroduce soft solid foods.