While general anesthesia and intravenous sedation dental regulations are more or less uniform throughout the United States, the state-by-state requirements for oral sedation are like snowflakes: each one is different
Seattle, WA (Vocus) March 22, 2010
Oral sedation dentistry is an increasingly in-demand treatment protocol, but one that requires careful attention as dental sedation regulations vary from state to state.
Moreover, for both the protection of patients and dentists, it’s critical that dentists know well and comply with all the specific requirements set by their state.
“While general anesthesia and intravenous sedation dental regulations are more or less uniform throughout the United States, the state-by-state requirements for oral sedation are like snowflakes: each one is different,” observes John P. Bitting, Regulatory Counsel for DOCS Education.
As a public service to dentists and their patients, DOCS Education, the leading provider of sedation training to dentists in North America, has launched a new regulatory website to help health professionals navigate the patchwork of rules. Specifically, the site, http://www.SedationRegulations.com, provides dentists with an easy-to-understand overview of their state dental board’s requirements for oral sedation dentistry.
The majority of U.S. states now require some combination of formal training and standard-of-care equipment plus a permit issued by the state dental board before dentists can provide oral sedation to their patients.
For instance, regulated states may require anywhere between zero and seventy-five hours of training for minimal and moderate oral sedation, and some of these may also require certification in advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) or pediatric advanced life support (PALS). Every state requires a dentist to be certified in basic life support (BLS) – CPR for healthcare providers – as a requirement for licensure. Every regulated state also requires a modicum of standard-of-care monitoring and emergency equipment.
Many of the regulated states have linked their requirements to the recommendations of the American Dental Association’s anesthesia and sedation guidelines, which are revised from time to time. The most recent version of the ADA guidelines was released in October 2007 after a great deal of input from interested stakeholders.
The ADA guidelines recommend special training for minimal and moderate sedation ranging from 16 hours (minimal sedation) to 24 hours (moderate oral sedation) to 60 hours (intravenous moderate sedation) of didactic (classroom) instruction. The guidelines also recommend that dentists observe or document a certain number of clinical patient experiences or cases depending on the route of administration used to achieve sedation.
Most states reference one version or another of the ADA’s predecessor documents. However, some states have already adopted, or will adopt, most or all of the 2007 ADA guidelines, according to Mr. Bitting, the DOCS Education attorney. A handful of states have created their own regulatory frameworks without specifically referencing the ADA guidelines.
DOCS Education offers introductory and advanced courses in adult and pediatric oral sedation for dentists and their teams as well as a comprehensive intravenous sedation program taught at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. DOCS Education also presents courses in ACLS and PALS certification, which many states require for sedation dentistry.
DOCS Education members have direct access to a full-time regulatory counsel for assistance in complying with the training and equipment requirements, obtaining sedation permits, and addressing advertising-related issues.
All dentists who offer oral sedation services to their patients, whether or not they were trained by DOCS Education, are encouraged to visit http://www.SedationRegulations.com for an overview of their state’s dental sedation training requirements.
Dentists who would like any additional information on sedation dentistry safety and training courses, are invited to phone 877-325-3627 or visit the professionals’ website at http://www.DOCSeducation.com.
Consumers with questions about fear-free, anxiety-free sedation dentistry should call 888-858-7972 or visit the patients’ website at http://www.SedationCare.com.