Referral of children to a general anaesthetic dental service in Tayside.Health Bull (Edinb). 2001 Mar; 59(2):136-9.HB
To determine the adequacy of child referral for dental general anaesthesia (DGA) by local dental practitioners, given the recent guidance document to dentists from the General Dental Council and in addition, to determine the subsequent treatment and factors which influence treatment selection.
A prospective study.
Department of Paediatric Dentistry, Dundee Dental Hospital, Dundee.
Children [n = 84] who were referred for dental extractions under general anaesthetic over a three month period.
Non-surgical dental extractions under general anaesthetic were requested in nearly 90% of referrals. In the majority of cases, the referral was deemed inadequate; e.g. the medical history was not mentioned in the majority of cases (85.7%) despite nearly one-fifth of patients having a relevant medical history. In general, referring practitioners under-estimated the extent of disease, requiring treatment plans to be changed in 76% of cases; all changes represented an increase in the number of dental extractions undertaken. The most common reasons for general anaesthetic use were: multiple dental extractions (73.8%); the patient's anxiety (63.1%); and patient's age (41.7%). As an alternative to general anaesthesia, treatment was undertaken successfully using inhalation sedation in nearly 15% of cases.
Dental extractions under general anaesthetic are still a common reason for referral. Referring practitioners frequently provide inadequate information, in addition to under-estimating the treatment required. Alternative forms of anxiety management are available and should be considered for children requiring dental extractions.