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Updated guidance published to support safe and effective sedation for dental treatment


The Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) has today launched its third edition of Conscious Sedation in Dentistry guidance. The guidance provides up-to-date advice on various aspects of the provision of sedation, including: facilities, equipment and staffing; preparation for sedation; sedation techniques and staff training.

For the third edition, the guidance has had a thorough update using SDCEP’s NICE accredited methodology, and taking into account specific developments in sedation practice since it was first published in 2006 and revised in 2012. This has included communication with the Intercollegiate Advisory Committee for Sedation in Dentistry (IACSD) regarding its Report, Standards for Conscious Sedation in the Provision of Dental Care, published in 2015.

The guidance promotes good clinical practice through recommendations for the safe and effective provision of conscious sedation for dental care. All of the dental faculties of the Royal Colleges in the UK and the Republic of Ireland have endorsed it. In addition, the Royal College of Anaesthetists has expressed its support for the guidance and will be promoting it among its members.

Chair of the SDCEP Conscious Sedation in Dentistry guidance development group, Professor Vince Bissell, said:

"Dental teams are highly skilled in using various approaches to help alleviate the anxiety that some people experience when attending for dental care. In certain circumstances, using conscious sedation is an appropriate means of helping anxious patients cope with dental treatment. It also enables some patients with additional support needs to access dental care. Drawing on the most recent developments in this area, the guidance provides clear and practical advice on how to provide sedation for dental care safely and effectively.”

SDCEP is a National Dental Advisory Committee (NDAC) initiative within NHS Education for Scotland (NES). SDCEP supports improvements in the quality of dental care by providing user-friendly guidance on topics that are priorities for dental healthcare. For quality assurance purposes and to ensure applicability, each guidance publication is subject to an open consultation, when those affected by the guidance have an opportunity to provide feedback and inform its development.

Dr David Felix, Postgraduate Dental Dean for Scotland, said:

“NHS Education for Scotland welcomes the publication of Conscious Sedation in Dentistry as a valuable resource for dental professionals in Scotland and beyond. The work of the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme promotes the adoption of research evidence into clinical practice, thereby supporting the delivery of high quality health care which is safe, person-centred and effective. Endorsement by all of the Royal College dental faculties is significant as it emphasises the broad professional support for this guidance. Members of the development group are to be congratulated on their achievement in producing this guidance."

The new guidance is available to download at where further information on the work of SDCEP can also be found.

Reference: PR2017-012

Further Information From
Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme, Dundee Dental Education Centre, Frankland Building, Small’s Wynd, Dundee, DD1 4HN email: or telephone: 01382 425751

Note to Editors
NHS Education for Scotland (NES) is a national special health board working to provide education, training and workforce development for those who work in and with NHSScotland. At any time this means NES is responsible for over 6,500 trainee healthcare professionals and also supports the recruitment of professionals into Scotland.

NES is responsible for the implementation of the workforce development aspects of the Scottish Government’s Dental Action Plan.

NICE has accredited the process used by the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme to update its Conscious Sedation in Dentistry guidance. Accreditation is valid for 5 years from 15 March 2016. More information on accreditation can be viewed at

A JPEG of the cover of the Conscious Sedation in Dentistry guidance is available by contacting

Front cover graphic