I’m really worried. I’m scheduled to have my wisdom teeth removed. I’m 27 so I’m a little late in the game. I recently read they’re changing the dental laws because the way dentists currently do dental sedation isn’t as safe as it should be. But, (and here’s the part which worries me) it doesn’t take effect until 2019. As I’ve waited this long, would it be safer for me to put this off until 2019?
I’m going on the assumption you live in California because that’s the only state that currently has changes as you’ve described taking effect in 2019. If that’s not correct, let me know so I can look up the changes you’re referring to. Each state makes their own laws with regard to medical and dental regulations.
I can understand why you’re concerned. The way they’ve postured this in the media, you’d think dentist were mavericks, knocking off patients left and right. Fortunately, the reality of the situation is quite different. In fact, they’re mostly the result of politicians using the death of a young girl to get in the media. The proposed changes won’t make much of a difference to children and are a great example of our modern tendency to value symbolism over substance.
In your case, there will be no effect on how your sedation is done. The majority of the changes impact sedation for kids. For example, if a sedation dentist treats a child under age seven, he will have to have three people present, including an anesthesia provider who will monitor the patient’s vitals the entire time. When a child under age 11 is being treated, there will need to be two people present. It also addresses the training and credentialing of the individuals providing treatment.
The California Dental Association issued a statement regarding the legislation. “CDA also has concerns about the lack of an evidence base for a separate provider, noting that an analysis of pediatric anesthesia deaths that occurred over six years in California found that there was no pattern in the circumstances, providers or settings surrounding the deaths. A recent analysis by the Texas Dental Board failed to find additional safety with a separate anesthesia provider, leading to the fear that a separate anesthesia provider requirement provides a false assurance of safety for families and may negatively impact access to this essential service.”
In other words, it was unnecessary because it doesn’t really change the safety. Dentists are already required to have constant monitoring, as well as have people on staff who can respond quickly in an emergency. The only thing it does do is add an unnecessary financial burden to low-income families because of the cost of the additional bodies.
Wisdom tooth removal has a higher chance of complications the longer you wait to have them removed. In your place, I’d not wait for 2019. You don’t want to end up in an emergency situation.
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