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General Anesthetic in asthmatic 3 year old?


So my daughter is 3 and needs to be put to sleep to have around 6 teeth removed. (No judging, she has a problem with calcium in her teeth and constant antibiotics and asthma medications have taken it’s toll)

I’m just looking for some advice on whether or not there is another way I could have them removed? Been told so many horror stories about generals at such a young age.

17 Replies

I am sorry to hear this. I wouldn't know of another way. Hopefully someone on here can advise you. Or maybe ring the Asthma UK helpline. They may be able to help. I have had asthma all my life and had to have a general anaesthetic once to remove my wisdom teeth (about 19 years old). I was very sick when I woke up, but it did pass. Everyone reacts differently. Good luck and I hope your daughter is okay. x

DMcG18 in reply to emmasue

Thanks for your reply, I’ll try giving them a call. She has enlarged tonsils and adenoids so I’m just worried about how it may affect her breathing/oxygen levels throughout. Xx

emmasue in reply to DMcG18

My sister had kissing tonsils and had hers out when she was 6. It did help dramatically. It meant she could actually eat and breath at the same time. She finally started growing properly. She is 34 now and amazingly her tonsils have grown back. Only my sister! 😝 I hope it goes well for your daughter. x

DMcG18 in reply to emmasue

Yeah we’ve seen the ENT about having her tonsils/adenoids removed but he advised us to wait until she was older due to her age and the complications that can come with asthma after a GA.

Thankyou xxx

EmmaF91Community Ambassador


I went under general aged 5 to get teeth pulled (had 2 baby teeth with no enamel so constant abscesses and infections). No issues on my part other than apparently waking up earlier than expected, telling everyone I was hungry, then falling back to sleep 😂 (I blame the strawberry flavoured gas myself!!! 🍓🤤😅).

However I didn’t have asthma at the time. Had another op as teenager when asthma was worsening and required ventolin after I woke up...

My advise is to talk to the dentist/anaesthesiologist and find their view on GA vs any alternatives (they should be able to give pros and cons to it all). It could be that they think she’s just too little to cope with anything but GA 😕

Hope it all works out for you and her xxx

DMcG18 in reply to EmmaF91

Thanks for your reply, I’ve spoken to her asthma nurse and the dentist and they both have conflicting answers. Asthma nurse feels it would be better to have temporary treatments done until she’s 5 and then try a LA as she feels it might be a bit to risky with her asthma and also having such large tonsils and adenoids. But the dentist feels there is no other option and it should be done now.

She is suffering some pain at times but I’m stuck between the risks as she has been back and forward to her gp recently with her breathing. She was due to have her tonsils/adenoids removed but ENT wanted to wait until she was older due to her asthma. This has put me off getting the GA as he was so persistent on waiting until she was older.


I had lots of teeth out as a child under gas with no problems but that was before I developed asthma.

More recently I needed two teeth removed and because of my medical history my dentist wouldn't take them out and wrote to my doctor who referred me to hospital. I had them out wihtout a general anaesthetic.

Perhaps you could talk to your GP about your concerns and conflicting advice and ask for a referral?

DMcG18 in reply to strongmouse

Yeah she was referred to local hospital to have them removed but appointment was cancelled due to her being on antibiotics. They’ve now set up another appointment for out local emergency dentist to have a look so I’ll take to them about my worries.

Thanks for the reply x

Worked for NHS as paediatric nurse for nearly 40 yrs and have to say I had the best job in the world and the care for children is probably 100% better than adult services (having been a patient myself) don't worry they will check your baby from top to toe with anesthetists who will answer everything you need to know from the ward, theatre and recovery. You will have pre assessment prior your admission and they will answer your questions and hopefully alleviate your fears. Please don't listen to horror stories, we all have heard them but the care of children in the NHS has in my experience is excellent, children are precious to us all.😊

DMcG18 in reply to Spikedog66

I suffer from anxiety so I worry so much about the smallest things. We’ve an appointment to see the emergency dentist tomorrow as she’s had some pain the last few days and hopefully should have them removed on Tuesday.

Thank you for your reply, it’s setting to hear from someone who’s actually worked with children who have gone through similar experiences xx

My son had his adenoids out and gromits fitted under general anaesthetic when he was 3 1/2. He’s asthmatic too. He was absolutely fine with it. He didn’t have a problem with his tonsils though.

I hope you can come to a decision which gives you peace. Xx

Hi, sorry to hear about your daughter, hope you will find a perfect alternative to your dilemma. But I am surprised to see so many people writing about extracting teeth and that too under GA. I seriously believe that UK is lacking good, experienced and mature dentists. Extraction of teeth is the most basic and easiest thing to do, which even a minimally trained doctor can do without any fuss, and that is the reason that these dentists prefer extraction as the first option. Also, I think extraction is the cheapest and least expensive of all procedures. Dental procedures are exorbitantly expensive in the UK, to the point of being absurd! The motto and aim of every dentist should be to save the tooth by any means, extraction being the last resort. And general anesthesia is also not required in tooth extraction, in my opinion (I may be wrong), usually local anesthesia is enough.

All said, I am sure you'll find a perfect solution. Best of luck to you and your daughter.

Thanks for your reply, I think due to ongoing asthma medications and regular antibiotics they feel it would be best to remove the teeth as they seem to be worsening even when keeping on top of them at home and having regular lacquer applied.

She doesn’t settle well at the dentist so I think that’s why they feel a general would probably be best x

Chinmoy1955 in reply to DMcG18

I'm sure she will be fine. Best wishes from me and my family for your daughter. God bless...

At three teeth extraction can be traumatic, its traumatic for anyone including adults not a pleasant experience just adults grin and bear it! Not a sole out there can say it is?? "I dare you". The dentist is thinking of your child so don't worry they want your child not to be frightened. in theatre they are give what was termed years ago at the dentist as a whiff. Its minutes for the whole process and they keep children in recovery until they are fully recovered that's what takes the time. One of my children was taken to theatre at a young age and although I knew what was happening leaving them at that theatre door nearly finished me off. Some hospitals allow you into the anaesthetic room until they are asleep, maybe your hospital does. You are a mother and will worry about them always ask your mother.😊

Thanks to everyone for the replies. She’s had her teeth out this morning due to an infection and she’s absolutely fine and in recover at the moment x

strongmouse in reply to DMcG18

That's great news DMcG18! Hope you are both okay and that her recovery goes well.

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