Sedation of anxious children undergoing dental treatment

Eastman Dental Institute, Department of Paediatric Dentistry, 256 Gray's Inn Rd, London, UK, WC1X 8LD.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 5.94). 02/2006; DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003877.pub3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Anxiety about dental treatment or behaviour management problems can be a barrier to its uptake in children. Sedation can be used to relieve anxiety and manage behaviour, unfortunately it is difficult to determine from published research which agents, dosages and techniques are effective.
To evaluate the relative efficacy of the various conscious sedation techniques and dosages for behaviour management in paediatric dentistry.
Computerised: MEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Dissertation Abstracts, SIGLE, the World Wide Web (Google) and the Community of Science Database were searched for relevant trials and references up to December 2004. Reference lists from relevant articles were scanned and the authors contacted to identify trials and obtain additional information. There were no language restrictions. Trials pre-1966 were not searched.
Studies were selected if they met the following criteria: randomised controlled trials of conscious sedation comparing two or more drugs/techniques/placebo undertaken by the dentist or one of the dental team in anxious children up to 16 years of age.
Information regarding methods, participants, interventions and outcome measures and results were independently extracted, in duplicate, by two authors. Authors of trials were contacted for details of randomisation and withdrawals and a quality assessment was carried out not using any formal scoring system. The Cochrane Oral Health Group statistical guidelines were followed.
Sixty-one studies were included with 3246 subjects in total. Overall quality of studies was found to be disappointing with poor reporting often the main problem. Data reported could not be easily aggregated into groups to facilitate description of results. Meta-analysis of the available data was also not possible for the same reason. The variety of differing drug regimens compared made it difficult to isolate groups of studies that were sufficiently similar in design to allow sensible comparison. Where groups of studies could be isolated, then the differing outcome measures used made their meta-analysis impossible.
Review authors were not able to reach any definitive conclusion on which was the most effective drug or method of sedation used for anxious children. A list of proposed areas of study was described.

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