Error: Subscribe to Dental Update to view, or purchase this article.

Article: Volume 48 Number 2 Page 106 - February 2021

  Dent Update 2021; 48: 106-113  Read article

Sedation:  Too Old to Sedate: How Old is too Old?

Feedback:  0 comments, 0 ratings


Abstract: The UK population is ageing with over a quarter of people predicted to be over 65 by 2040. People are retaining their teeth into old age, often having experienced complex restorative dental work over the years. The increasing complexity of dental treatment that older people require will create challenges for those who provide care for this population, including dental treatment under sedation or general anaesthesia. This article discusses the medical, dental and social considerations that need to be taken into account when planning dental care for older patients under sedation or general anaesthesia.

Clinical relevance: Dentists who provide sedation must be able to appropriately assess and manage their older patients safely if considering this method of pain and anxiety control for dental treatment.

Author notes: Natalie Bradley BDS MFDS Dip SCD RCSEd, Special Care Dentistry Registrar, Guy's Hospital, East Surrey Hospital, Royal Hospital for Neurodisability, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust. email:

Objective: To appropriately assess whether an older person is a suitable candidate for sedation in general practice, what adjustments may be required in order to provide safe care and when treatment should be provided in a secondary care setting.