CHICAGO, April 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Dental Association's proposed revisions to its existing sedation and anesthesia guidelines lack any scientific foundation and are contrary to the ADA's long commitment to evidence-based dentistry (EBD).
That was the testimony of Dr. Michael Silverman and other prominent dental leaders who participated in the ADA's members-only hearing on the issue, held April 20th at the ADA's headquarters. Dr. Silverman, a pioneer in the education of general dentists on sedation dentistry techniques and safety protocols, is the co-founder of DOCS Education (established 1999).
"There are profound questions facing the dental profession and the American Dental Association," Dr. Michael Silverman told the ADA's Council on Dental Education and Licensure. "The ultimate question is whether we will be a profession guided by science, or by emotion and politics."
Dr. Silverman told the ADA panel that proposed legislation in California, known as Caleb's Law, as well as the ADA's own efforts to revise its sedation and anesthesia guidelines, lack the hard science, empirical evidence, and peer-reviewed research that would – in accordance with the ADA's own EBD requirements – justify the changes. The two proposals would drastically alter the manner in which oral surgeons and general dentists treat their patients.
Specifically, Dr. Silverman cited the death of six-year-old Caleb Sears in 2015, after the youngster's parents took Caleb to an oral surgeon to have a tooth extracted. The little boy suffered massive anesthesia-related injuries and never returned home.
"Caleb's tragic death is a black mark on our profession, as is the injury of every single patient – young or old – who visits an oral surgeon or pediatric or general dentist for care, and leaves in an ambulance or a hearse," Dr. Silverman told the Council.
The challenge facing the ADA and the dental profession is how to respond to such rare cases, given that even one serious injury or fatality is too many, Dr. Silverman noted.
"How do we, and the ADA, decide (what to do)?" Dr. Silverman asked. "Based on emotion? Based on news coverage? Based on best intentions?"
Dr. Silverman argued that taking draconian and scientifically unsubstantiated actions – such as Caleb's Law and the ADA's proposed sedation revisions, known as Resolution 77 – may give the appearance of protecting patients, but in reality fail to address the vital issue of safety.
"Will we be seduced into abandoning our long commitment to Evidence-Based Dentistry in exchange for the false comfort that 'at least we're taking action'?" Dr. Silverman asked. "Will Caleb Sear's death be a motivation for our profession to actually improve patient safety, or will it cause us to act precipitously – mistakenly – to soothe our broken hearts?"
In addition to Dr. Silverman, other ADA members, as well as leaders of the Academy of General Dentistry, testified against the ADA's proposed Resolution 77. If approved by the ADA's House of Delegates at the ADA's annual meeting in October, Resolution 77 would rewrite and restrict the guidelines governing how general dentists treat their fearful and anxious patients.
As DOCS Education and others note, more than 20 million American's have been treated safely, without incident, by dentists who follow the existing ADA guidelines and state regulations, which begs the question: Why are any changes necessary whatsoever?
There is a glaring, overwhelming, lack of science to support either Caleb's Law or the ADA's Resolution 77, Dr. Silverman testified before the Council. If the ADA pushes through the proposed changes known as Resolution 77 – despite the absolute lack of evidence-based science such changes demand – the organization "will be endorsing a Pandora's box of uncontrolled emotion that will ultimately consume all of professional dentistry," he said.
To hear an audio of Dr. Silverman's remarks, as recorded after the ADA Council on Dental Education and Licensure hearing, please visit: http://tinyurl.com/silverman-ada.
Dentists interested in learning the science that supports safe, sedation dentistry, under the existing ADA guidelines, are encouraged to visit www.GettheScience.com.
Dentists and patients who wish to support the effort to prevent unnecessary and harmful changes to the ADA's existing sedation guidelines can show their support by commenting and "Liking" the page: www.Facebook.com/SaveSedationDentistry.
Dr. Michael Silverman
SOURCE DOCS Education