4 Medical Conditions That May Complicate Pediatric Oral Surgery

29 October 2014
 Categories: Dentist, Articles


Pediatric oral surgery is generally well-tolerated by most patients. However, certain medical conditions may lead to adverse reactions or complications both during and after procedures. While most children's dentists have the experience and knowledge to treat emergencies during routine oral surgeries, occasionally such events necessitate a trip to the hospital. Here are four medical conditions that your child may have that have the potential to complicate oral surgery.


If your child has asthma, make sure the dentist is aware of the condition. Both the oral surgery procedure as well as the preoperative anesthetic can exacerbate breathing problems. While local anesthetics rarely lead to problems in asthmatic children, those who undergo procedures with dental sedation may encounter an increase in wheezing, shortness of breath and thickened mucus after the oral surgery. If the child experiences any of these symptoms, the dentist may administer oxygen, advise you to take patient to the hospital, or call 911 for emergency transport.

Sedation agents such as anti-anxiety medications slow down breathing and may also inhibit your child's ability to cough up lung secretions. This can lead to the stagnation of mucus in the airways, and if not expelled, may lead to a bacterial infection. Talk to your child's pediatrician about the upcoming oral surgery because it may be recommended that the patient take a nebulizer treatment prior to the scheduled appointment to help clear the airway and thin viscous secretions so they can be effortlessly coughed up after surgery.

Juvenile Diabetes

Juvenile diabetes, or type I diabetes, may also raise the risk for complications after your child has oral surgery. People with diabetes can experience delayed wound healing and may be at greater risk for developing post-operative infections. Also, the stress from the oral surgery may raise circulating glucose or cortisol levels, leading to hyperglycemia, causing the following symptoms:

  • Frequent or excessive urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Headache

If your child develops any of the above symptoms after undergoing oral surgery, blood glucose levels should be checked. If elevated, the appropriate anti-glycemic agent should be administered, then the physician should be notified.


If you child is anemic, abnormal bleeding may occur both during the oral surgery and after. Anemia often causes decreases in platelet counts and red blood cells. When this occurs, blood can lose some of its ability to clot effectively, leading to abnormal bleeding and bruising.

Tell the dentist about your child's anemia because, if your child has bleeding tendencies, extra care may need to be taken during instrumentation, and the dentist may decide to suture the extraction site instead of keeping it open to help reduce the risk of bleeding when your child gets home.

If bleeding does occur after surgery, use a piece of sterile gauze to apply pressure to the operative site until it subsides. If bleeding is severe or fails to slow even after you have applied pressure to the area, seek emergency medical treatment.

Tonsil Or Adenoid Problems  

Children with tonsil or adenoid problems may develop breathing problems while sedated. Dental sedation causes the tissue in the throat to relax, and in those children with hypertrophic tonsils or adenoids, this can cause airway collapse, obstruction and breathing problems, necessitating emergency medical intervention. You may not even know that your child has tonsil or adenoid problems. However, if he or she snores loudly, chances are good that these tissues are enlarged.

If your child has any of the above health conditions, discuss them with both the pediatric dentist and your child's physician. When problems are proactively treated prior to dental procedures, the chance for complications greatly diminishes. Also, if your child is acutely ill because of a chronic medical problem, oral surgery may need to be delayed until their condition has stabilized. For more information, contact a clinic such as Dentistry For Children & Adolescents.