Sedation dentistry is that branch of dental medical health, which describes all kinds of procedures through which pain is being relieved during treatments.
The main issue that arouse quite recently is that there are more and more people struggling with dental phobias and physical/developmental disabilities that require sedation during a dental visit.
There is a fierce debate among advocates and opponents of sedation dentistry regarding as to whether the dental professionals administering sedation do have a proper educational background and sufficient training in offering these procedures.
Among the most widely used techniques of sedation there are included the use of numbing Novocain injections, the use of nitrous oxide (popularly known as laughing gas), intravenous sedation or the administration of oral pills. There is also deep anesthesia available, which is usually performed during complicated oral health surgeries.
Michigan is a state which has not updated its laws accordingly with the recommendations and regulations instated by the ADA (American Dental Association).
The association requires that doctors who perform such sedation should get more specialty training in the field. Michigan is also one of the two states in the U.S. where special permits for dentists doing these procedures are not actually required.
After a child has died from a complication after dentistry sedation procedure in the state of Virginia, a national watchdog consumer group has been founded.
The group actually raises the awareness of the general public, and teaches consumers what to ask their dentist right before undergoing any sedation procedure.
It is quite obvious by now that there is more regulation needed in the field of sedation dentistry, especially after there were recorded so many death cases as a direct result of improper sedation practices.
According to dental anesthesiologist and president of the Michigan Dental Society, Dr. Kaminski, in the past decade there has been literally an “explosion” of sedation dentistry and while the number of practitioners grew considerably, not all of these practitioners caught up properly with the training required in order to be able to perform such procedures.
Kaminski is actually fighting fiercely for two years now in order to push the state of Michigan to adopt much tougher rules and standards regarding sedation dentistry.
Currently, dentists in the state of Michigan are allowed to offer moderate sedation after only 20 hours of training. However, the ADA requires that these professionals should have at least 60 hours of training; moreover, even nurse anesthetists are allowed to perform sedation procedures if a dentist who is properly trained in the field supervises them.
In comparison, the oral surgeons actually take even up to 6 years of extensive training in the field of anesthesia.
The dental anesthesiologists are required to have at least 1 full year of anesthesiology training in hospitals while the general dentists must have at least 80 hours of training and go through some extremely complex exams to get proper certification.
Hopefully, starting with this year there will be adapted new regulatory standards regarding dental sedation in the state of Michigan.
Dental practitioners that offer moderate sedation will be the ones targeted, and the ones who will need to go through more training in order to ensure the safe administration of the sedatives during dental treatments.