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Children sedated, anesthetized for dental procedures: What reporters should know

Pediatric dentistry
Image by ktpupp via Flickr.

A 3-year old Hawaiian girl died in January, a month after she lapsed into a coma while undergoing a dental procedure. The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs is investigating what went wrong and the child's parents are suing. Questions have been raised about the level of sedatives administered to the 38-pound girl.

An increasing number of children are being placed under sedation or anesthesia for dental care, experts say. Children with diagnoses of extensive decay who may not be able to sit still for care are sometimes placed under general anesthesia before undergoing treatment.

But how often is this done, what kinds of sedatives and anesthesia are used, what's the training for dentists who use sedatives and what are the risks involved? We get some answers from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

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