Thursday, October 15, 1998 Published at 19:16 GMT 20:16 UK
Dentists want fewer anaesthetics
The BDA wants a reduction in the use of general anaesthesia
Dentists are calling for a reduction in the use of general anaesthesia after a spate of cases in which young patients have been ill or died, the BBC's Health Correspondent Fergus Walsh reports.
Isla Denholm, Darren's mother, said: "If he had been in hospital, if he had been there that second quicker, if the dentist had not had to phone an ambulance, maybe if they had been there right there and then at the time when Darren went into cardiac arrest...then maybe they would have save him."
Every year, 350,000 general anaesthetics are given in dental surgeries, mostly to children.
Experts say that in the rare cases where they are required they should be administered in hospital theatres.
Professor Graham Roberts, professor of paediatric dentistry, said: "Ideally, I would like the number of anaesthetics used in dentistry fall to zero, but this is not practicable.
"There will still be a small number of people who find it impossible to accept treatments whilst awake."
However, he believes many people could be treated under local anaesthetic or local anaesthetic plus inhalation sedation.
Many dentists are experts in calming the fears of youngsters, but the British Dental Association (BDA) says others are pressured by patients into giving general anaesthetics when it may not be necessary.
However, he admitted: "There are episodes and deaths each year and one death and one bad episode are one death and one episode too many."
Meanwhile, in Hampshire a five-year-old boy is in critical condition after suffering brain damage under anaesthetic when he was having a tooth removed.