The importance of dental health for children is stressed to parents almost as soon as children are born. It begins with the bottle, breastfeeding and pacifier. It graduates into teething, dental check ups and cleanings. However, one thing that a parent does not expect dental health to lead to is death. However, one family in Hawaii is suing their daughter's dentist after sedation was used during her dental surgery resulted in brain damage and her eventual death.
The family of Finley Boyle, aged 3, took their daughter to dentist Lilly Geyer and Island Dentistry for Children in Honolulu for extensive dental work including four root canals and cavity fillings. In court documents the family alleges that incorrect dosages of sedation medications were used and that the office was not adequately staffed or prepared to handle the emergency resulting from these medications.
Though no comment has been made to the media by the dentist office, the website indicates that Island Dentistry is permanently closed.
This is not the only report of death or injury by the alleged overuse of anesthesia. RDH, a dentistry magazine shares these instances and advocated for dentist and dental hygenists to be aware of the dangers and how to prepare and react for them.
The Huffington Post reports on 31 deaths allegedly caused by dental sedation here during 2012.
The California Society of Pediatric Dentistry provides this PDF with guidelines and instructions about pediatric sedation during dental care. It is information which every pediatric dentist should be aware of and should be abiding by strictly, however, it's also information which every parent who has a child undergoing sedation for pediatric dental treatments should also be given so that they may fully understand the implications, advantages and disadvantages of using this method of treatment.
Parents may also want to visit The Raven Maria Blanco Foundation, which has been created and seeks to alert parents to the potential dangers of the increasingly widespread use of oral sedatives on patients as young as 18-months old.
Related content: Dealing with the dentist: Kids' dental checkup tips for parents