American children are being put at risk by inadequately trained dentists who often seek to enhance profits by sedating their young patients for even routine tooth cleaning and cavity treatments, an ABC News investigation has found.
In many cases, even well-trained dentists have been unable or ill-equipped to handle emergencies with young patients.
More than a dozen children have died after being sedated by dentists, according to the Raven Maria Blanco Foundation, which seeks to alert parents to the potential dangers of the increasingly widespread use of oral sedatives on patients as young as 18-months old.
There is no national registry of dental deaths, and some experts say many deaths go unreported or are never officially tied to dental sedation.
Eight-year old Raven Blanco died after her dentist, Dr. Michael Hechtkopf, gave her "three times the average range" of sedatives, according to the Virginia Board of Dentistry.
The dentist had his license restricted for three months and was ordered to complete seven hours of continuing education in record keeping and risk management. He has since retired.
A lawyer for Dr. Hechtkopf said the dentist "regretted" what happened.