The decision to use sedation, according to the AAPD, must consider:
• Whether there are other treatment options
• What are the dental needs of the patient
• What will the effect of sedation be on the quality of dental care
• What is the state of the patient’s emotional development
• Whether there are medical and physical considerations that might be affected by sedation
Sedation is usually recommended for fearful, anxious patients for whom traditional treatment has not worked, patients who lack the emotional or psychological maturity to be cooperative and in cases where it might reduce medical risk.
It is discouraged for patients with minimal dental needs or who have medical and/or physical conditions that would make sedation inadvisable.
Janet Southerland, dean of the Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry, has used sedation dentistry on young patients, noting in a previous interview, that issues of pain-free and cosmetic dentistry are areas that will become increasingly important to patients in the future.
Southerland’s research interests include the study of the relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease and early detection and interventions for oral cancer as well as oral manifestation of HIV/AIDS.
Southerland, who previously has served as chair, Department of Hospital Dentistry and Chief of the Oral Medicine Service, both at University of North Carolina Hospitals, as well as the head of hospital dentistry, said she used sedation dentistry for 11 years before joining Meharry last year.