FAQs for Pediatric Dental Patients


Can my child eat or drink anything on the day of surgery/procedure? What are the NPO guidelines?

Your child will NOT be able to eat any food after midnight before the procedure. Also, on the day of surgery/procedure, do NOT give milk, orange juice, broth, bouillon, gum or candy to your child. But, on the day of surgery/procedure, your child may have clear liquid (only water, Gatorade, apple juice) up to three (3) hours before the appointment.

Why are the NPO guidelines so important?

Dr. Marn follows the guidelines for NPO from the ASA (American Society of Anesthesiology). These are standards that were scientifically evaluated to prevent aspiration and aspiration pneumonia.  

What is aspiration and aspiration pneumonia?

Aspiration is when a person inhales something that isn’t supposed to go into the windpipe (trachea).  For our purposes, we are talking about aspirating stomach contents either passively (like when sedated) or actively (like when vomiting).  Aspiration and aspiration pneumonia can be very serious and life-threatening because the fluid from the stomach can be very acidic and contain particulate matter (e.g. food) in it.

How can parents and patients prevent aspiration?

Most aspirations are preventable.  The parents are an important part of this prevention.  Ensure you and your child follows the NPO instructions very carefully, and be open and honest if these instructions are violated.

What is type of anesthesia will my child receive?

Your child will likely receive deep sedation.  This means your child will be unconscious, amnestic, and experience no pain (comfortable) during the procedure.  Your child will be breathing on their own.  On occasion, a patient will need to be intubated (place a breathing tube into their trachea), a procedure often performed in ambulatory surgery centers and hospitals.  This sometimes happens if the patient needs additional respiratory support to allow for the procedure or surgery to be performed successfully.  The decision to intubate will be determine by Dr. Richard Marn.

What can I expect immediately after anesthesia?

Your child will be very tired and lethargic, especially for the first few hours (and sometimes for the rest of the day) after surgery and anesthesia.  Don’t be surprised if your child may want to take a nap later in the day.

Here are some normal reactions to expect after anesthesia: tiredness, lethargy, low-grade temperature, possible nausea and vomiting.

Dr. Marn will further address these common issues with you on the day of the procedure.

How active can my child be after anesthesia?  

Your child will be sleep, groggy, lethargic and tired for the rest of the day due to receiving a sedative.  Don’t be surprised if your child may want to take a nap after anesthesia, however make sure your child rests on their side or back and is closely monitored by an adult for the rest of the day.  For example, allowing your child to rest in the living room where they can be easily observed is a good option, instead of a bedroom.  Activities should be limited to watching TV, reading a book, playing quietly with toys inside, and resting.

Should my child return to school?

Your child should not return to school or daycare on the day of the procedure, as they need to be under close parental or responsible adult supervision.  Arrangements need to be made so that an adult (18 years old or older) will be able to supervise your child for the rest of the day at home.

What are the diet limitations after a dental procedure for my child?

Your child’s diet should initially consist of clear non-carbonated liquids (water, juice, Gatorade, Pedialyte, broth); followed by clear soft foods 1-2 hours later (jello, rice, soft breads, soft fruits like bananas and strawberries). Avoid eating crunchy, sticky food, fried, or oily foods.  Move to a more routine diet as your child directs.  Please do not give them heavy (like hamburgers or pizza), fried, or oily foods for the first 2 days after the procedure.  

What do I do if my child feels nauseated or vomits after anesthesia?

Your child may experience some nausea, though most children do not. If your child vomits 1-2 times or feels nauseated, wait 30 minutes before allowing them to sip clear non-carbonated liquids followed by softer foods (see above).  Call Dr. Marn if vomiting persists more than 1-2 times on the day of the procedure.

Will local anesthesia be given to my child by the dentist?

Local anesthesia is not usually needed for dental treatment in patients who are undergoing sedation or general anesthesia.  If local anesthesia was used for dental treatment, then monitor your child closely for several hours to make sure they do not bite, scratch, or injure their cheek, lips or tongue.

Do dental fillings hurt?

After the placement of dental fillings (silver or white), teeth may often be sensitive too hot, cold, or pressure for a brief period of time. It is not uncommon for recently filled teeth to require several weeks to feel “normal” again.


For more information please call (646) 883-6962, email us at info@nymedicalanesthesia.com, or complete the contact page form.