NM’s kids need access to expert dental care

Anke Neustadt

Attitudes and habits established at an early age are critical in maintaining good oral health throughout life. While February was National Children’s Dental Health Month, it is important year-round to know how to keep your child’s teeth healthy and that they have access to safe dental care in New Mexico.

As a CRNA of the New Mexico Association of Nurse Anesthetists and a parent, in addition to teaching your children good dental habits, work with their dental team to help ensure the delivery of sedation or anesthesia care is provided by a qualified, licensed anesthesia professional such as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth decay is one of the most common chronic diseases in childhood. Children who have poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who don’t. Untreated cavities can cause pain, infections and can lead to problems eating, speaking and learning. And although generally thought of for adult dental procedures, many children receive sedation and anesthesia, even for what would be considered routine dental care, due to special needs, fear, anxiety or procedural pain.

This increases the complexity of care and emphasizes the importance that sedation and anesthesia are provided by an anesthesia professional, such as a CRNA, who is focused only on patient safety, monitoring and vigilance.

At Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, I and multiple other excellent CRNAs work to provide this safe and vigilant anesthesia care to the children of the Las Cruces area as well as many surrounding underserved communities. I know as a parent nothing matters more than ensuring your child is in trusted hands. Being able to provide that sense of security to families each day guaranteeing that their child is kept safe and comfortable for procedures brings fulfillment to my work and motivates me to be the best anesthesia provider that I can be. Anesthesia, while being extremely safe when provided by a trained expert, requires the utmost attentiveness and immediate intervention when necessary, which is why ensuring an anesthesia provider such as a CRNA is overseeing your child’s dental procedure is of the highest importance.

CRNAs are highly educated, trained and qualified anesthesia experts. They provide 50 million anesthetics per year in the United States, working in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered. They also deliver quality care to rural and other medically underserved areas, where they ensure access to anesthesia care to populations that would otherwise have to travel significant distances from their homes for treatment.

Patients who require sedation or anesthesia for dental procedures can count on a CRNA to stay with them throughout their procedure, advocate on their behalf and provide high-quality, patient-centered care. CRNAs are proud to serve patients in communities throughout our state, working with dentists to provide important access to safe, cost-effective dental services.

Establishing healthy habits early, like regular brushing and flossing, is essential to maintaining good oral health. But when the need arises, you also want your child to have a dental team, including a CRNA, that is working together to deliver safe, quality dental care.


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