A history of sedation guidelines: where we are headed in the future

The development and implementation of guide lines probably elicits more controversy and emotional fury than any other activity professional organizations undertake. Sedation guidelines, both among and within professional organizations, are a prime example. Yet, guidelines offer a sense of accountability, direction, and integrity that would seem both demanded and appreciated by most elements of society.

The purpose of this article is to 1) describe the background and development of sedation guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), 2) address specific issues in current AAPD guidelines that may be too broadly interpreted and confusing to individuals within and outside of the organization, and 3) offer for consideration a proposed sedation guideline plan that may be more clinically congruent with private practice than the current guidelines. In so doing, it is the authors’ intent to provide the readers with information that may be useful for decisions on acceptability of future guidelines and to offer an alternative concept of sedation guidelines more representative of clinical practice.