Poor training and careless attitudes towards patient safety means that thousands of children across the USA are being put at risk when they visit the dentist, as some unscrupulous characters attempt to increase their profit by sedating very young patients. By pushing parents to add expensive sedation to their child’s treatment, badly trained dentists are making huge amounts of profit on what should be routine treatments.
In some cases, providers are administering oral sedatives to patients as young as 18-months and current research suggests that at least 31 children have died as a result of this careless practice in the last fifteen years. The parents of eight-year-old Raven Maria Blanco have set up a foundation in her memory after she passed away in the dentist’s chair in 2007, due to a lethal dose of sedatives. The Raven Maria Blanco Foundation was created to warn parents about the dangers of poorly trained dentists, Robin and Mario Blanco spoke to Diane Sawyer on ABC news about the tragedy and how it could have been prevented; they said ‘Parents assume that a dentist should know what he’s doing and that’s not always the case.’ ABC continued to investigate and found that there were very few regulations in place for dentists and that some states required just a weekend of training for administering oral sedatives.
Spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Dr Indru Punwani, called the weekend course ‘inadequate’, and suggested that this was not long enough to teach the dentists how to deal with the possible emergencies that could occur during surgery.