Improving the safety of pediatric dental sedation

Participants in a pediatric dental sedation training course practiced sedation techniques using a simulated pediatric patient at the University of Florida on April 20, 2013.
Participants in a pediatric dental sedation training course practiced sedation techniques using a simulated pediatric patient at the University of Florida on April 20, 2013.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Last month, 70 pediatric dentists practicing in Florida received specialized training in pediatric dental sedation and office emergency preparedness through two courses hosted at the University of Florida. Through the courses, participants learn about evolving sedation practice guidelines that are critical to the safety and welfare of pediatric dental patients and earn certification in Advanced Cardiac Life Support.

Gary Myers, D.M.D., Florida Academy of Pediatric Dentistry president, estimated that the attendees represent more than half of the dentists who administer pediatric dental sedations in Florida.

“We are extremely pleased with the high level of attendance,” said Myers. “These attendees received very intensive training and the fact that we reached such a large percentage of providers means we’re helping to provide the safest care for Florida’s children. There is nothing more important than that.”

Renewal of conscious sedation permits occurs biennially and requires that permit holders are current in Basic and Advanced Cardiac Life Support, as certified by the American Heart Association. All Florida sedation permit holders must take a minimum of four hours continuing education that includes sedation and emergency management.

“The continuing education courses are intended to assure that members of the Florida Academy of Pediatric Dentistry have the chance to periodically review and learn updated information on pediatric dental sedation best practices and have opportunities to challenge their knowledge and skills,” said Robert Primosch, D.D.S., M.S., M.Ed., course director and a professor of pediatric dentistry at the UF College of Dentistry.

The training is unique in the United States in both its goals and structure. With 14 hours of interactive educational experiences, it goes beyond the four hours of continuing education required for maintenance of Florida dental sedation permits. Faculty from around Florida including two board-certified pediatric dentists, four board-certified pediatric anesthesiologists and an emergency medical technician, provided instruction.

“Several professional continuing education courses on dental conscious sedation are offered in the U.S., but these are rare in that they include small group interaction and intensive experience with human simulation,” Primosch said. “Having these courses in our state makes it more convenient for Florida pediatric dentists to

attend, and we are able to focus on laws governing pediatric sedation that are specific to dental practice act in Florida.”

Part of the training was held at the UF College of Medicine Simulation Center, where participants were challenged with various sedation emergency situations using a child simulator. During these simulated experiences, small groups of four-person response teams had to respond to adverse case scenarios and practice their intervention and communication skills. The participants rotated between the roles of the various team members. The trainees used checklists, which recent studies show greatly improve patient safety and are now required in many health care settings.

The Florida Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has sponsored the biannual, two-day courses for the past 12 years. It advocates the continued education of pediatric dentists and promotes optimal dental health care for infants, children and adults with special health care needs.

For media inquiries call Karen Rhodenizer at 352-273-5782 or email