What it’s like to put your child under general anesthesia for dental work…

Sorry ahead of time but this is a LONG post but I wanted to share our experience with you and document it for myself.

Let’s talk about going to the Dentist with a kid! I was never a big fan of going to the dentist, but we did it, ever 6 months and since I have gotten used to going. I am still not a huge fan, but it’s one of those things you just have to do to make sure your teeth are healthy and strong. So when Lennox was old enough to start going, we brought her. We quickly learned that she was born with an enamel deficiency on her teeth – which would cause the teeth to be soft, crumble and decay easier than a strong fully developed tooth. Since she was so young when we first found out – and no major damage had been done yet – we decided to just watch the teeth and continue having 6 month check ups.

Fast forward 2 years and it brings us to this past summer. We went for our semi-annual cleaning and I knew there was going to be bad news. I could tell that the condition was getting worse and that on of her teeth was crumbling. The dentist informed us that she needed to get crowns put on her back molars (on all sides) to prevent further damage until the teeth fall out as a teenager. Ok, that’s not that big of a deal in my mind – we’ll get the work done and that will be it.


Well, not so fast. The second part of this was that she would need to be sedated to have this done. The dentist we were patients at, did in-office sedation from an outside anesthesiologist … but they don’t take dental insurance! Ouch! We decided before we made a quick and scary decision, to get a second…and what would turn into a third opinion!

We finally landed at a great dentist that my sister had recommended. We LOVED her. She took the time to really show us what was going on, what work was recommended and she also recommended that we have the dental work done at the hospital under full anesthesia.

The whole idea of anesthesia really stressed me out. When you have to sign paperwork that says that you understand that your child could DIE during the procedure – is EXTREMELY upsetting. We talked with the doctor, did our research and spoke with our pediatrician and we all agreed this was the right treatment plan.


Off to sleep – we are up EARLY tomorrow to head to the hospital and get our “princess teeth” ❤️

A photo posted by Heather Terrell (@heatherterrell) on

Fast forward to October when it was time to have all the work done. We got up very early one morning, before the sun, and headed into the Pediatric Surgery center. After waiting and waiting for what seemed to be forever, for Lennox’s name to be called, it was time to get this show on the road.


Waiting for her name to be called so we can get this show on A photo posted by Heather Terrell (@heatherterrell) on

Lennox was actually pretty excited … for some reason! She knew she was going to go in, go to sleep and get some princess teeth! We went into the back pre-op area and she had her vitals check again, got into her bed and was given some “Giggle Juice”. This would help her relax prior to going back into the surgery room as well as help with any pain she may have when she woke up.


At this point, this was the first time Lennox started to freak out a little. I don’t know if it was a reaction to the giggle juice or if it was just nerves feeding off of mom & dad – but she was sad, wanted to go home and have it over it.


But soon enough, the giggle juice started working and we had a little silliness out of Lennox. Nothing too silly like you see on Facebook… but she was relaxed.

It was then time to talk to the Anesthesiologist, sign the papers and off she went into the surgery doors. Thinking back, this moment was a little surreal. You are trying to take everything in – hoping for the best and fearing the worst. She was happy when she left us, which really helped. We took a moment to gather ourselves and then we had to go back into the waiting room and wait..wait…wait…

Lennox’s procedure was one of the longer ones happening compared to getting your tonsils out and such – which most of the kids were doing there. Did you know that only takes 10-15 minutes?! Wow! Lennox was back there for just under 2 hours and when we heard our name being called and that she did great and was awake – all the stress left our bodies! Phew! It’s over!


We spoke with the dentist and then got to go see her in recovery. She was 100% pitiful. Snuggled up under her blankets, crying, sniffling and bleeding a little from her mouth. She didn’t know exactly what was going on yet, as the anesthesia hadn’t left her body completely but I do think she was relieved to see us again. After some snuggled and a few sips of water – it was time to head home!

She slept on and off on the way home and for another 20 minutes or so once we got home. But just like turning on a light switch, she snapped out of it and was awake, talking, asking for food and ready to play! It was a little crazy. In true Lennox fashion as well, she hasn’t stopped talking and being crazy since!


We had our post-op appointment on Tuesday and we are officially DONE DONE DONE with all this dental work. Everything is looking great and she is doing a good job with her new “princess teeth”. I’m so glad this whole thing is done and behind us. It was an emotional roller coaster, but it’s done (and paid for) so I can now forget about it!

Side note: I just want to say that I HATED MEDICAL/DENTAL INSURANCE during all of this. They would not cover any of her hospitalization or sedation from the anesthesiologist because it was not an emergency situation. So even though we had letters from doctors stating that she medically had to be sedated, that she was too young to do it any other way and that she was born with this deficiency, it is still not considered necessary through the dental portion of our medical insurance. I’ll let you imagine how much this all cost us! ugh! In the end, it was worth it and the money was the least of our worries – but geez – just add some more to the pot!

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12 thoughts on “What it’s like to put your child under general anesthesia for dental work…

  1. Christy

    She’s such a little trooper (and so stinkin cute). I’m sure this was a rough experience for all of you. We had an AWFUL experience at the dentist recently with Bubby that has resulted in an unconfirmed diagnosis of either latex or lidocaine allergy. Allergy tests were inconclusive. Anyway, he’ll fight me tooth and nail (ha the irony) next time.

  2. Kami

    I can only imagine how nervous you must have been! Looks like she handled it like a little rock star!! And, thank goodness it’s all over 🙂

  3. Molly

    Poor girl and poor parents! I can relate somewhat as Landon was born with an enamel deficiency as well and it has caused cavities even though we are very diligent about cleaning his teeth!

    We didn’t have to have general but he did have to be sedated with some medicine and no, it wasn’t covered (I hate dental insurance too!). I hope this will buy you guys some time. Landon had a crown put on at age 4 and he is 6 now with no problems since!

    Glad that’s over for you guys!

  4. Censie

    Poor Lennox. She did so well though. I am not a fan of going to the dentist at all. I am trying to break that feeling with my kids. Thank goodness Lennox is all fixed up and you can breathe a sigh of relief.

  5. Isra

    Oh gosh what timing! I just came from the dentist yesterday, and found out my 4 yo has 8 cavities, and both molars need crowns..and of course she must go under general anesthesia. It’s a blessing to read this, but it makes me so crazy nervous, full butterflies just thinking that she would be under.

    1. Heather Post author

      Oh no i’m so sorry you have to go through this too! Let me know if you have any questions or want to chat about my experience in more detail!!


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