Sedation clinic brings smiles

More than 250 dental patients benefited from free treatment during the IV Conscious Sedation course.

Cheryl Deslaurier - 20 December 2011

Receiving dental care may not seem much of a gift for some, but it is for those individuals who are either low income or would not otherwise seek treatment due to a fear of needles, dentists or treatment.

More than 250 apprehensive dental patients benefited from free treatment during the U of A's School of Dentistry Intravenous (IV) Conscious Sedation course. Conscious sedation is an alternative to oral or inhaled anesthesia to help decrease patient anxiety and allow patients to be awake and talk. The course put on by the Continuing Dental Education division of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry is a four-part series during which practicing dentists are trained to administer single-agent intravenous conscious sedation.

Now in its sixth year, this is the only accredited professional development course of its kind offered in Canada. "We are proud of the calibre of participants we draw in as a result of the program's educational depth," says Dr. James Yacyshyn, director of Continuing Dental Education. "We provide a formal curriculum with comprehensive sedation and clinical training while providing charitable care."

"When we can find ways to improve the overall health and well-being of Albertans through our programs, it's a win-win situation," says Dr. Paul Major, lead of the School of Dentistry.

The 10-day free clinic accommodated about 250 patients. "Christmas came early," said one patient, who had a couple of fillings and an extraction. Dental care at the clinic was restricted to simple fillings, extractions and cleanings.

Dentists are encouraged to bring to members of their team to the course. Dental assistants attend clinical sessions, medical emergency and sedation lectures.