A general anaesthetic will mean your child will be asleep when they have their treatment.

Why does my child need a general anaesthetic?

Your dentist feels your child would not be able to manage to have their treatment if they were awake.

They will have talked to you about all the different ways to help your child manage having their treatment.

Your child’s name will be on a waiting list

When your child gets to the top of the list you will get a letter about the appointment.

You will have a first appointment to do checks before your child has their appointment for treatment.

You will get a letter, email or phone call about this appointment.

What treatment will my child have?

Your dentist will have talked to you about what treatment your child needs.

If your dentist couldn’t check your child’s teeth properly at their surgery, they will have their teeth checked while they are asleep.

They might have treatment like fillings or teeth cleaning while they are asleep.

Your child will be having

☐ Teeth taken out

☐ Fillings

☐ Teeth cleaning

☐ Check of their mouth and teeth

When your child has their first appointment to do checks, their treatment plan might change.

Our first teeth are called baby teeth

Baby teeth help make space for our second teeth called adult teeth.

Sometimes taking out baby teeth means adult teeth don’t have the space they need.

Will my child be able to eat normally after their treatment?

Their mouth might be uncomfortable for a couple of days.

They should have soft food for that time.

What should I tell my child about having a general anaesthetic?

This will depend on how old they are and what you think they will understand.

You can tell them that a doctor will give them some medicine which will make them go to sleep while their teeth are treated.

Afterwards they will wake up and go home.

Books, games and stories can help your child understand what will happen.Patient

What should I do if my child has toothache before their appointment?

Give them their usual amount of pain medicine.

If they are still in pain contact your dentist for advice.

What if my child is poorly on the day of their appointment?

If your child has a cough, cold, runny nose, has a temperature or is poorly with something else, they might not be able to have a general anaesthetic.

Please contact the Paediatric Day Unit at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital for advice about what to do,

0300 422 8452

0300 422 8453

What will happen on the day my child has their treatment?

Your child can have a small breakfast before 8am.

They can have sips of water until 12pm.


Please do not let your child have,


fizzy drinks

fruit juice


chewing gum

Please don’t bring other children with you, the ward is very busy

Let your dentist know if your child has lost any teeth since they last saw them.

You will be seen by the health staff who will be treating your child including a dentist.

The dentist will talk to you about the treatment and ask you to sign a form to agree to the treatment.

This is called a consent form.

The consent form has to be signed by an adult who has parental responsibility for the child.

This means the child’s mother or father or someone who has been given parental responsibility in court.

The doctor who will give your child their general anaesthetic is called an anaesthetist.

The anaesthetist will check if your child is allergic to anything.

They will check what medication they take.

They will ask if your child has had a problem with a general anaesthetic in the past.

You will usually be able to stay with your child until they are asleep.

When the treatment is finished your child will go to the recovery room.

A trained recovery nurse will look after your child.

When they are awake you will be able to be with them again.

You will be able to take them home later that afternoon.

If your appointment has to be cancelled you will be contacted to arrange another appointment.

How will my child feel afterwards?

They might feel sleepy and confused and might cry.

They might feel a bit sore so they may be given some pain medicine.

Some children still feel a little bit poorly the next day so they might need to stay home from school.

You will know whether they should go to school or not.

Are there any risks with a general anaesthetic?

General anaesthetics are usually safe but it is not possible to take away every risk.

Some people feel sick or dizzy or have a sore throat after a general anaesthetic.

About 1 in every 1000 people have other things like problems breathing.

It is very rare that people have anything like a serious allergy and even rarer that people die.

More information

If you have more questions you can contact the clinic where your child has their appointment.

If you want to know more about having a general anaesthetic you can look at the Royal College of Anaesthetists website.


Ask 3 questions

If you are asked to make a choice about your child’s health, you may have lots of questions you want to ask.

You might want to talk to other people about your child’s choices.

It can help if you make a list of your questions and take it with you to your appointment.

To begin with try to make sure you get the answers to these 3 questions, if you are asked to make a choice about your child’s healthcare.

What are their choices?

What are the good things and not so good things about each choice?

How do I get help so I can make a choice that is right for my child?

Printable version of this page

Information for people caring who care for a child who has extra needs GHPI1833_02_24 Department: Oral and Maxillofacial Review due: February 2027 PDF, 767.9 KB, 10 pages
Reference number GHPI1833_02_24
Department Oral and Maxillofacial
Review due February 2027