n South African Medical Journal - Paediatric dental chair sedation : an audit of current practice in Gauteng, South Africa : research

Volume 105, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Procedural sedation and analgesia (PSA) is often required to perform dental procedures in children. Serious adverse outcomes, while rare, are usually preventable.

To determine the proportion of dental practitioners making use of paediatric dental chair PSA in Gauteng Province, South Africa, describe their PSA practice, and determine compliance with recommended safety standards.
A prospective, contextual, descriptive study design was used, with 222 randomly selected dental practitioners contacted to determine whether they offered paediatric dental chair PSA. Practitioners offering PSA were then asked to complete a web-based questionnaire assessing their practice.
Of the 213 dental practitioners contacted, 94 (44.1%; 95% confidence interval 37 - 51) provided PSA to children. Most patients were 1 - 5 years old, although there were practices that offered PSA to infants. While most procedures were performed under minimal to moderate sedation, deep sedation and general anaesthesia were also administered in dental rooms. Midazolam was the most frequently used sedative agent, often in conjunction with inhaled nitrous oxide; 28.1% of PSA providers administered a combination of three or more agents. Presedation patient assessment was documented in 83.0% of cases, and informed consent for sedation was obtained in 75.6%. The survey raised several areas of concern regarding patient safety: 41.3% of dental practices did not use any monitoring equipment during sedation; the operator was responsible for the sedation and monitoring of the patient in 41.3%; 43.2% did not keep any recommended emergency drugs; and 19.6% did not have any emergency or resuscitation equipment available. Most respondents (81.8%) indicated an interest in sedation training.
Paediatric dental chair PSA was offered by 44.1% of dental practitioners interviewed in Gauteng. Modalities of PSA provided varied between practices, with a number of safety concerns being raised.

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