As of January 1, 2008, Illinois dentists must adhere to stricter requirements before using anesthesia or sedation. Senate Bill 214 was passed on August 24, 2007, following the death of a 5 year old girl in Chicago who was sedated during a routine dental procedure. Last year, Diamond Brownridge slipped into a coma and died while under deep sedation in a Chicago dentist office. In August 2007, the Brownridge family settled a dental malpractice claim against the Chicago dentist, Hicham Riba, shortly after filing suit.
For routine work, most dental patients receive a simple shot to numb the area being treated. Patients who are extremely anxious may receive nitrous oxide (or "laughing gas") where the patient remains conscious but may forget the procedure. General anesthesia is the state of complete unconsciousness where there is an absence of pain sensation throughout the body. Deep sedation, the type involved in the Brownridge case, is the state between consciousness and unconsciousness which may be used for more involved dental procedures.
On signing the bill, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich said "this law will help make sure that when people go to the dentist they feel safe and confident that whoever is administering anesthesia or sedation is skilled and licensed to do so." The law requires that dentist must obtain a permit from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation before performing deep sedation. Before the new law, dentists were already required to have a permit before using conscious sedation and anesthesia. The new law requires Illinois dentists to complete additional educational and equipment training to get permission to use deep sedation. Dentists and their assistants must also be certified in Basic Life Support (or CPR) and continuing educational training in sedation techniques.