Pediatric Sedation Dentistry Splits Dentists

Post your comments on pediatric dental sedation to our blog.

Pediatric dental sedationPediatric sedation dentistry is a divisive topic among dentists. In this survey, half of dentists voiced their approval for pediatric dental sedation (with proper training, of course), while one in three feel GPs should never sedate children.

"It’s very good with proper training," said one dentist. "It is limited application, however. Many children sedate poorly."

  • 54% say pediatric sedation is a great treatment modality that requires proper training.
  • 11% are still am not certain of its safety.
  • 35% think general dentists should not be performing pediatric sedation.

Listen to what Dr. Michael Silverman has to say about DOCS Education’s evolving stance on the subject: Dental Continuing Education for Pediatric Sedation

Here are some dentist comments on pediatric sedation dentistry:

Training is key

  • “It is a great way to treat children. However, weekend courses do not give one adequate training to sedate children; one needs to be formally trained.” (Arizona pediatric dentist)
  • “It’s safe if done properly.” (General dentist)
  • “Kids are a different breed from adults when it comes to sedation, and you REALLY have to have thorough training to sedate them.” (New York dentist)
  • “Proper training and the use of modern equipment are the key.” (California dentist)

The risks are high

  • “Even with proper training and using correct procedures, there are still significant possible complications. I say this as a trained pediatric dentist.” (Illinois pediatric dentist)
  • “This is the most delicate group of all patients, and the one that GP’s should be very cautious when treated. This also is the group that has the most incidents when sedation is performed. This gives sedation for others a scary name and brakes the curve for safety.” (Florida dentist)

Hooray for pediatric sedation

No way!

  • “Just ask an anesthesiologist. They all say NO!!! No one should!!!” (Massachusetts pediatric dentist)
  • “I am a pediatric dentist. I used to offer it in my practice. I have stopped since 2004. I recommend that it is used ONLY in a hospital setting.” (Massachusetts pediatric dentist)

Leave it to the surgeons

  • “Only OMFSs should do anesthesia.” (Florida oral surgeon)
  • “There are a small number of general dentists who will obtain the necessary training to SAFELY provide sedation services for children, but I can’t for the life of me understand why they would want to. As an OMFS, I routinely use an anesthesiologist to sedate children under 10 or those with asthma, obesity or other potential airway problems. Children go from pink and fine to blue and dead faster than you can imagine, making for a pretty bad day for all involved. Look at the record for adverse outcomes with pediatric anesthesia, even in pedodontists’ offices, and decide if a GP should be doing pediatric sedation.” (California oral surgeon)

It’s a good treatment option, but not a panacea

  • “There is no excuse for inadequate training. You must be on top of your game and realize it is not successful all the time. Still will need a source where pedodontics can be done under a general anesthetic.” (Oklahoma dentist)
  • "It’s very good with proper training. It is limited application, however. Many children sedate poorly and need to be anesthetized much more deeply than legal sedation would allow." (General dentist)

Teach children not to fear the dentist

  • “Pediatric sedation should be performed only in a hospital setting and only for special-needs children. The rest of children do great if you will only be patient with them and do ‘show and tell.’ I have been in practice for almost 20 years and never had to send a child under sedation. The most difficult children always, and I mean always, do great and overcome their fear if you give them time and love and show them how trust works.” (California
    children’s dentist)

It’s too delicate

  • “You can’t just dump meds down a kid, Halcion or otherwise.” (Florida pediatric dentist)
  • “N2O dosage levels are indeterminate.” (General dentist)

Trust the right authorities

  • “Dr. Morton Rosenberg, Professor in the Tufts School (Boston) is the definite expert in the field. His opinion is the most valuable." (General dentist)


Note: Survey sample included 72 respondents. Posted 9/14/2010

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