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Considering sedation dentistry? During conscious sedation, a patient is given medication that keeps him relaxed and calm, but aware of what is going on. This can make going to the dentist much less scary—but there also are risks. A patient may have a bad reaction to a drug, or a dentist may give a wrong dose. Either of these scenarios can result in permanent brain injury or death.

In Wisconsin, a dentist must have a permit in order to provide sedation. To qualify for a permit, the dentist must complete graduate level post-doc training in anesthesia or a Wisconsin Dental Examining Board approved anesthesia course. The problem is that some courses are only three days long. Is this really long enough to teach a dentist to handle sedation emergencies?

How do you know your dentist is qualified to perform oral sedation? Our Milwaukee medical malpractice lawyers have compiled a list of five questions to ask if you are considering sedation dentistry.

  1. What training have you had in the use of sedatives? The American Dental Association recommends that dentists offering conscious sedation have at least 60 hours of classroom training and 20 hours of experience in a supervised environment.
  2. Will you monitor my vital signs during sedation? The dentist should monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, and blood oxygen level during sedation. Some patients may also need an electrocardiogram to monitor heartbeat.
  3. Is emergency rescue equipment available? There should be oxygen, suction equipment, intubation equipment, and a defibrillator in the room where the dental procedure will be performed.
  4. Has the staff been properly trained in the use of the rescue equipment? When there is an emergency, a dentist must act quickly to prevent inadequate oxygen levels from causing brain damage or death. The staff must have training and experience using lifesaving equipment.
  5. How long will I be monitored after the procedure? A patient who receives a short-acting sedative should be monitored for 30 to 90 minutes before leaving the office. A patient who is given a “wake-up” pill should be monitored for two to three hours.

Dental mistakes are a form of Wisconsin medical malpractice. Contact a Milwaukee medical malpractice attorney if you or a loved one suffered serious injury during conscious sedation or another dental procedure. To learn more about Wisconsin dental malpractice claims, contact Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham
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