What are the Regulations for Pediatric Dental Anesthesia in California?

June 16, 2017

ABC 10 Staff Report

Pediatric anesthesia is always a sensitive topic.

Anesthesia for children can be deadly, and there are kids who have tragically lost their lives due to dental procedures gone wrong.

In addition to meeting general dental anesthesia requirements, California is one of nine states which require a permit for pediatric sedation. Different states have different ages defined as pediatric, but in California, the permit covers children ages 13 and under. According to the Dental Board of California (DBC), practitioners must have appropriately sized equipment for young patients and also require a current Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certificate.

Currently, 20 states require dentists who perform anesthesia on kids to also obtain Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification. California is not one of those states.

Dental assistants can't administer anesthesia but can assist in monitoring the patient and assist in caring for a patient under sedation. California requires all dental assistants to maintain current certification in Basic Life Support (BLS) and specifies the duties and education for assistants participating in sedation and anesthesia care.

The biggest difference between the anesthesia process at the dentist and going under anesthesia at the hospital is, dentists and oral surgeons in California are not required to have an individual present to administer and monitor anesthesia. In fact, no state in the country requires a separate person for anesthesia during dental procedures for adults and children, according to the DBC.