Safety of Dental Procedures

Dr. Kristin Woodward takes a look at sedating kids during dental procedures.

DENVER — Sedation is used during procedures in kids because it decreases pain and anxiety. However, the recent death of a three year old following a dental procedure leaves us asking is it safe?

Procedural sedation in kids can be done safely if given by an experienced health care provider. Prior to any procedure, parents should ask who will be giving the sedation and how will their child be monitored. It is also very important to know that someone will be present who can handle any emergent situation that may arise.

It is always wise to also ask about alternatives. For example, can the procedure be done with only local anesthesia or can the procedure be done in the hospital under the care of an anesthesiologist.

Many types of sedatives are used in kids. However, the most important point is to make sure the health care providers know how to give the medications safely, know how to monitor your child, and know how to handle emergent situations.

If you have any questions talk to your child’s pediatrician prior to the procedure. They can direct you to a specialist who can help you make the right decision for your family.

2 comments

  • Rmbf Kids

    Finley’s catastrophe illustrates a far larger problem. Most dental offices in America are not prepared to manage a medical emergency (regardless of whether it is anesthesia related or not). The answer is NOT depriving children of needed dental care. That’s cruel and immoral. Appropriately trained dental professionals should be allowed to utilize anesthesia and sedation in a proper setting. The answer is not doing dentistry without anesthesia, as a variety of anesthesia methods including various sedation techniques are necessary to treat the wide variety of dental needs with which patients present. The answer is that the EVERY American dental office should be prepared to handle a medical emergency. Experts agree dental offices need to be prepared in six area collectively called The Six Links of Survival. Finley’s story should make everyone in America write the American Dental Association and their state dental board demanding implementation of medical emergency preparedness standards. We ALL need this protection.

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