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Conscious Sedation in Dentistry

Published June 2017 (3rd Edition)


This publication is only available as a downloadable online resource. It is not available in print.

Supporting tools

NHS Education for Scotland provides a short educational module to support familiarisation with the guidance content via Turas Learn (1 hour verifiable CPD).

About this guidance

This guidance aims to promote good clinical practice through recommendations for the safe and effective provision of conscious sedation for dental care. For the third edition, the guidance has been subject to a thorough update using SDCEP’s NICE accredited methodology taking into account specific developments since it was first published in 2006. This has included communication with the Intercollegiate Advisory Committee for Sedation in Dentistry (IACSD) regarding the IACSD Report, published in 2015. The dental faculties of the Royal Colleges of the UK and the Republic of Ireland have all formally endorsed this guidance and the Royal College of Anaesthetists has expressed its support of it.

NICE accredited

NICE has accredited the process used by the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme to produce its Conscious Sedation in Dentistry guidance. Accreditation is valid for 5 years from 15 March 2016. More information on accreditation can be viewed at Further information about NICE accreditation of SDCEP guidance can be viewed at NICE Accreditation.

Guidance development

The guidance is based on a review of available evidence and the opinion of dental and medical experts and experienced practitioners, and has been subject to open consultation and peer review prior to finalising for publication. The methodology used for the development of this guidance, including details of the evidence search strategy, evidence appraisals and information about conflict of interests can be found in the Conscious Sedation in Dentistry Methodology (PDF) document. Further information on the SDCEP guidance development process is available or contact the SDCEP office (

During the development process, potential barriers to the implementation of this guidance were identified. A Guidance Implementation Summary (PDF) of information about these is provided. For further details visit the TRiaDS website.

A Guidance Development Group comprising individuals from a range of branches of the dental profession and other disciplines, with expertise and experience in dental sedation, and two patient representatives was convened to update this guidance, working with members of SDCEP’s Programme Development Team.

SDCEP acknowledges the important contribution of all those who commented during the consultation and peer review stages.

Review and updating

For this guidance, a review of the topic will take place five years after publication and, if this has changed significantly, the guidance will be updated accordingly.

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