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For Authors Continuing Education
Vol. 73, No. 8
ISSN: 1488-2159
October 2007


Use of Nitrous Oxide and Oxygen for Conscious Sedation to Manage Pain and Anxiety


• Helen A. Ryding, BDS, MSc •
• H. Joseph Murphy, EdD •

A b s t r a c t

A 13-item survey of dentists' views about approaches to pain and anxiety management was distributed in Atlantic Canada. Respondents indicated that about 50% had training in conscious-sedation techniques and 20% had learned to administer intravenous (IV) sedation. Sixty-nine percent of those responding had used oral sedatives to help manage fearful patients. Forty-six percent had referred anxious adult patients to specialists or other dentists, and 78% had made similar referrals for anxious children. Seventeen percent reported using conscious sedation, but they typically treated more than 20 anxious patients per year. Most (80%) believed that nitrous oxide and oxygen (N2O/O2) conscious sedation should be included in the treatments that a licensed practitioner can provide, and they were evenly divided in their opinion about the need for a separate licence for its use. However, only half of respondents believed that IV sedation should be included among a general practitioner's treatment options, and over 70% said that this treatment should be subject to a separate licence. The implications of these findings for curriculum are discussed.

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