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Article: Volume 49 Number 1 Page 52 - January 2022

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  Dental Update 496: 52-56

Sedation:  Airway Assessment for Intravenous Sedation in Dentistry

CPD:  CPD  0:24   (closed)      Self assess

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Abstract: The ability to manage an airway is an essential skill for the safe provision of intravenous conscious sedation. A systematic airway assessment will allow identification of risk factors pre-operatively, flagging potential airway problems and aiding case selection. If difficulties arise, the practitioner will be able to act efficiently having anticipated the risk factors. Importantly, cases unsuitable for primary care can be readily identified and referred appropriately. In the interest of patient safety, this article aims to present methods of airway assessment that can be incorporated into the pre-sedation assessment.

Clinical relevance: This article discusses airway assessment methods relevant to intravenous conscious sedation to promote patient safety.

Author notes: Brandon Owen, BDS, MFDS RCPS (Glasg), PGCert Med Ed, DCT3 Oral Surgery/Oral Medicine, Glasgow Dental Hospital. Hannah Bradley, BDS, MFDS RCPS (Glasg), PGCert Med Ed, DCT3 Restorative, Aberdeen Dental Hospital. email:

Objective: To present methods of airway assessment for the dental practitioner.