North Carolina dental board adjusts anesthesia rules after patient deaths

The North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners recently made changes to how anesthesia is administered to dental patients after several patient deaths, WWAY reported Sept. 12.

Dental practices are now required to use capnography to monitor a patient's breathing, level of sedation and airway management. The board also imposed limits on the maximum dosage of sedation medications that can be administered and updated requirements for reporting adverse occurrences.

The board began considering changes following eight anesthesia-related deaths in the state, including six in the past four years. It considered requiring dentists to have an anesthesiologist or certified registered nurse anesthetist be present during deep sedation but decided not to implement it after receiving feedback from medical and dental organizations about the negative effects of such a rule. 

The board will hold a public hearing to consider changes to the rules in November.

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