Politics & Government

August 21, 2014

After patient deaths, NC dental board working to change sedation

The North Carolina Dental Board of Examiners will begin its revision of the state’s rules for sedation dentistry in Greensboro on Friday.

The N.C. Dental Board of Examiners will begin its revision of the state’s rules for sedation dentistry in Greensboro on Friday.

The board was spurred to action by deaths in November 2012 and October 2013 that the board suspects are linked to improper sedation.

The dentists in both cases offered “conscious sedation,” which requires less training than heavier forms of sedation. In one case, a Cary dentist reportedly dismissed an assistant’s warning that a patient was turning blue and emergency services were needed, according to dental board documents.

The dental authority gathered public input – much of it from dentists and other professionals in the field – at three “listening conferences” throughout the state.

About 60 people, most with the title “Dr.,” attended the sessions, which took place in March, May and July. Among the attendees were state Sen. Floyd McKissick Jr. and all but one member of the dental board.

On Friday, a review committee will begin to discuss how it might change regulations for dentists who administer sedation. The committee will include the board’s two-member sedation committee and seven to 10 additional members.

The committee is meeting at 9 a.m. Friday at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro. Its work will be based in part on the comments received at the earlier sessions.

Among attendees’ suggestions were calls for more training, greater restriction of nitrous oxide use, more requirements for safety monitoring equipment, random inspections of sedation dentists and more training in patient selection.

Stanley Allen, a Greensboro dentist and a member of the dental board, described training for “adverse occurrences,” or emergencies, as the “key missing element” in the current rules, according to minutes.

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