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11th Annual Sedation Dentistry Safety Week Focuses on Milestones and Challenges

SEATTLE, March 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- For the eleventh consecutive year, dentists throughout the country are marking Sedation Safety Week (SSW), an annual springtime campaign to refresh and reinforce the profession's commitment to patient health and well-being.

The theme of this year's safety drive – Looking Back and Forging Ahead – coincides with the milestone 20th Anniversary of DOCS Education, the world's leading educator of sedation dentists, and host of SSW.

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Estimates are that more than 92 million Americans fear seeing a dentist. Thanks to sedation dentistry, over the past two decades more than 22 million once-reluctant individuals have overcome their hesitancy and received safe, pain-free, oral health treatments without incident.

Beginning today, and each day this week, SSW will showcase the laudable progress that sedation dentistry has made since 1999, as well as some of the tasks that are as yet incomplete.

"In the beginning, the trailblazers who first trained with DOCS Educations were in a teeny tiny minority of all general dentists, as were the faculty instructors who had enough clinical experience and formal education to be knowledgeable," recalls Dr. Michael D. Silverman, a globally-recognized lecturer, educator, author and patients' rights advocate. 

Dr. Silverman is co-founder and president of DOCS Education and founding chair of Sedation Safety Week.

"Today, oral sedation is mainstream, with more than 24,000 practicing dentists now relying on the DOCS Education protocols and training to treat millions of grateful patients annually," Dr. Silverman notes.

Nonetheless, despite the outstanding clinical safety record of sedation dentistry, one of the challenges the dental profession still faces is protecting patients' access to sedation care from a small – but influential – contingent of self-interested dental specialists who'd like nothing more than to roll back the hands of time to the pre-DOCS Education era when they enjoyed a near monopoly on sedating patients.

In fact, as Dr. Silverman points out, in multiple states, general dentists who have provided oral sedation to their patients for years – without incident – find themselves on the cusp of losing the right to continue to do so unless they bow to demands that they undertake extensive, expensive – and unnecessary – additional continuing education.

"This year's Sedation Safety Week, once again, is also intended to serve as a reminder to regulators, politicians, and dental profession leaders that the battle over oral sedation is about more than internecine rivalries," Dr. Silverman says. "It is, first and foremost, a fight for patients' access to care."

When the American Dental Association or state regulators succumb to the pressures of self-interested dentists and unnecessarily tighten the governance of general dentists who use oral sedation, they are effectively restricting the number of patients who can receive safe, effective dental care, says Dr. Silverman. "And that is unconscionable."

SSW invites dentists, team members, and patients to visit each day this week as the campaign reviews the substantial progress qualified sedation dentists have made in safely treating fearful and anxious patients, as well as the challenges that remain.

Media contact: 
Michael Silverman 


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