The purpose of this article was to determine if pediatric dental treatment under general anesthesia utilizing orotracheal intubation takes longer than using nasotracheal intubation techniques. Twenty-six American Society of Anesthesiologists Physical Status Classification I and II pediatric dental patients, ages 2–8 years treated under general anesthesia, were assigned to 1 of 2 groups: (a) nasotracheal intubation (control, n = 13), (b) orotracheal intubation (experimental, n = 13). Times for intubation, radiographic imaging, and dental procedures, as well as total case time were quantified. Data were collected on airway difficulty, numbers of providers needed for intubation, intubation attempts, and intubation trauma. There was a significant difference in mean intubation time (oral = 2.1 minutes versus nasal = 6.3 minutes; p < .01). There was no difference in mean radiograph time (oral = 4.2 minutes versus nasal = 3.4 minutes; p = .144), and overall radiograph image quality was not affected. There was no difference in dental procedure time (p = .603) or total case time (p = .695). Additional providers were needed for intubation and more attempts were required for nasotracheal intubation versus orotracheal intubation (6 additional providers/22 attempts vs 0 additional providers/15 attempts, p < .01 and p < .05, respectively). Nine of 13 nasotracheal intubations were rated as traumatic (69%) versus 0 of 13 for orotracheal intubations (0%) (p < .01). In 7/9 orotracheal intubation cases (78%), the tube was not moved during treatment (p < .01). Orotracheal intubation does not increase case time, does not interfere with radiographic imaging, and is less traumatic for the patient when performed by physician anesthesiologists, emergency and pediatric medicine physician residents, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and student nurse anesthetists, all with variable nasotracheal intubation experience.

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