While the Guidelines for the Use of Sedation and General Anaesthesia by Dentists document is available on the ADA website, it is written in a language that is more suitable for those in the dental field.What the general public should know, however, is that these are laws – not legal standards for dentists to practise.You may want to check out Elite Dentistry for more.
In the United States, the regulatory responsibility lies with the individual states for the practise of dentistry. Recently, some states have adopted specific laws governing the practise of sedation dentistry as a service to state residents – to provide them with safety assurance in the use of this increasingly popular dental service. Individual states are not bound by the ADA guidelines; they may determine their own sedation levels as well as the method of preparation, experience, and accreditation to be used. That is not to say that the ADA in the decision-making process of individual states is not highly influential.
That is an excellent question, but also one to which, unless you are well-versed in dentistry, there is no correct answer. The fact that there are different levels of sedation dentistry available, and that the number and names of those levels may vary between states where regulations are in place, is some of the difficulty. And the answer may also be to carry out specific dental procedures. However, when you begin to explore sedation dentistry for yourself or a family member, this fundamental knowledge may be beneficial to you. Sedation is a pharmacological way of altering your level of awareness of what is happening around you, as is general anaesthesia (i.e., your level of consciousness).
Your awareness/consciousness level is not a “step down” level, it is a continuous scale. (That’s why it is rather fuzzy, scientifically speaking, to describe precise levels of sedation. Levels are typically related to a continuum of awareness/consciousness that will overlap with the level above and below.)