With the theme of “Awareness,” the 10th Annual Sedation Safety Week (SSW) commences today with free programs and activities open to all oral health professionals. Hosted by DOCS Education, SSW aims to remind oral health professionals and members of the public alike that the first priority for all dentists must be the safety of each and every one of their patients.
Over the past decade, DOCS Education notes, millions of Americans have come to rely on oral sedation to help them overcome the anxiety and fear they associate with dental visits. Yet a large part of the adult population in the United States remains unaware of the availability of sedation dentistry, DOCS Education says.
Plus, DOCS Education adds, many dentists don’t realize that their patients represent only a fraction of the general population of adults who need to be seen but are too afraid to seek standard dental care. More than 92 million Americans are afraid of visiting the dentist, DOCS Education says, and many postpone visits until their pain becomes overwhelming.
“General dentists who fail to obtain the special training necessary to safely administer oral sedation, which typically can be acquired in a single three-day weekend course, are missing the opportunity to serve a much wider community of patients in need,” said Michael D. Silverman, DMD, SSW founder and national chair.
Due to improved technology and training protocols, DOCS Education says, many patients with complex medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, type 1 diabetes mellitus, hepatitis B and C, and various bleeding disorders are being safely, comfortably, and effectively treated in-office by general dentists who’ve completed advanced oral sedation courses.
On Monday, the EliteDOCS forum will discuss how far sedation science has come and how far it still has to go. On Tuesday, the forum will explore the growing role oral sedation is playing in dental health. On Wednesday, dentists will be invited to ask their sedation safety-related questions to members of the EliteDOCS forum.
Thursday’s topic will be the regulatory landscape and what dentists need to know about the evolving guidelines and regulations governing oral sedation. On Friday, the Safe Sedation Dentist of the Year as selected by a jury of dental peers will be revealed and profiled. This honor hoes to the clinician who best elevates the profession and its commitment to safety.
“We are proud of what we’ve accomplished and of the lives that Sedation Safety Week assuredly has saved,” said Silverman. “As we enter our second decade, we are more committed than ever to the goal of making every week in America a safe sedation week.”