Should you allow your child to have Anesthesia for Dental Procedures?

Should you allow your child to have Anesthesia for Dental Procedures?

Should you allow your child to have Anesthesia for Dental Procedures? 150 150 Dan Frith

The answer is “maybe” and “no.”

This issue came to mind as a result of reading this column in the Roanoke Times.  The article was written by Cathy A. Harrison, a certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA).  CRNAs are advanced practice registered nurses with graduate-level education.  They are not doctors and do not have the training or experience of doctors. Ms. Harrison’s column, titled “The Importance of Safe Anesthesia during Dental Care” makes some good points.  CRNAs play an important role in providing needed pediatric anesthesia to dental patients.  However, the most important word in the title of her article is “safe.”

If your child’s dentist wants to provide oral conscious sedation that is fine but do not allow a CRNA to provide general anesthesia to your child in a dentist’s office. For that matter, don’t let a trained dental anesthesiologist (a doctor) provide general anesthesia in the dentist’s office.  Why? Because when complications arrive, that dental office does not have the life-saving equipment and appropriately trained medical providers to save your child’s life should things go wrong.

We had the privilege to represent a family where their 3-year-old child suffered complications after receiving general anesthesia in a dentist’s office and died. Both the pediatric/family dentist and the dental anesthesiologist were responsible for this tragic death.  Had the complications occurred in a hospital setting I feel confident the young boy would have survived.  Our clients were located in Virginia but the problem is nationwide:

Why do some kids die under dental anesthesia? | UIC Today

Oakland child’s death sparks call for safer dental sedation

Kansas Boy, 3, Dies After Being Anesthetized During Dental Procedure

I could continue this list for pages but you get my point. Back to Ms. Harrison’s column, I admire the pride you have in your profession but your column fails to alert your readers to a nationwide problem that is killing young children in dental offices.




About the author

Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at

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