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Choosing an Anesthesiologist

Choosing an anesthesiologist to provide office based anesthesia can be daunting to both parent and practitioner.  


According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, “not all anesthesia providers have equal training and experience in delivering care during procedures performed within and around the oral cavity, especially in the pediatric or special healthcare needs patient populations or on a mobile basis.”


As a result, it is important to discuss your child’s anesthetic with the anesthesia provider in order to ensure the safety and well being of your child.  


Listed below, are some guidelines that can help a parent through a conversation with the anesthesiologist.


  • Confirm that the individual has completed an anesthesia residency program at a hospital based setting.  There are many courses available to dentists that credential them in “IV sedation.”  These classes do not train the practitioner appropriately in airway management or general anesthesia and do not meet the requirements of a dental anesthesia residency.

  • Verify that only one patient will be treated at a time.  It is of utmost importance that your child has the entire focus of the anesthesiologist during their sedation appointment.

  • Ask what technique will be utilized for your child’s sedation appointment.  Using a general anesthetic and a protected airway technique is recommended as it provides total control over the patient and reduces the risk of airway obstruction, desaturation (low oxygen), and other anesthetic concerns.  Make sure that an IV will be placed and resuscitation equipment is available to help the child if necessary.

  • Question what monitors are utilized during the procedure and how the child will be cared for at the end of the procedure.  The anesthesiologist should utilize the standard American Society of Anesthesiology monitoring equipment including blood pressure, EKG, pulse oximetry and capnography.  Furthermore, the patient should be monitored and cared for by the anesthesiologist after the procedure is completed and should be available to answer any questions that the parent or guardian may have in the immediate post operative period.

Office based anesthesia can be safe and effective and is an efficient and comfortable way to treat a pediatric patient’s dental needs.  Ensuring that you, the parent, feel comfortable with your anesthesia provider is of utmost importance and can improve the experience for both you and your child.


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- Dr's Abra DiLisio, Raquel Rozdolski, Esther Levine-Pincus, Jessica Levy

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