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The National Health Service anaesthesia annual activity (2013) was recently reported by the Fifth National Audit Program of the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland. Within a large dataset were 620 dental cases. Here, we describe this data subset. The estimated annual dental caseload was 111,600:60% were children (< 16 y), 38.5% adults (16 - 65y) and 1.5% the elderly (> 65y). Almost all were elective day procedures (97%) and ASA 1 or 2 patients (95%).The most senior anaesthetist present was a Consultant in 82% and a non-career grade doctor in 14%.Virtually all (98%) cases were conducted during GA. Propofol was used to induce anaesthesia in almost all adults compared with 60% of children. Propofol maintenance was used in 5% of both children and adults. Almost all adults received an opioid (including remifentanil) compared with only 40% of children. Thirty one per cent of children had a GA for a dental procedure without either opioid or LA supplementation. Approximately 50% of adults and 16% of children received a tracheal tube: 20% of children needed only anaesthesia by face mask. These data show that anaesthetists almost always use general anaesthesia for dental procedures and this exposes difficulties in training of anaesthetists in sedation techniques. Dentists, however, are well known to use sedation when operating alone and our report provides encouragement for a comprehensive survey of dental sedation and anaesthesia practice in both NHS and non-NHS hospitals and clinics in the UK.


Journal article



Publication Date





34 - 36


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Ambulatory Care, Analgesics, Opioid, Anesthesia, Dental, Anesthesia, General, Anesthesia, Inhalation, Anesthesia, Local, Anesthetics, Intravenous, Child, Conscious Sedation, Dental Audit, Dental Care, Female, Humans, Intubation, Intratracheal, Ireland, Male, Middle Aged, Piperidines, Propofol, Remifentanil, State Dentistry, United Kingdom, Young Adult