J Dent Anesth Pain Med.  2020 Jun;20(3):107-118. 10.17245/jdapm.2020.20.3.107.

Safety of chloral hydrate sedation in dental practice for children: an overview

  • 1Department of Pediatric Dentistry, College of Dentistry, Dankook University, Cheonan, Korea
  • 2Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Jukjeon Dental Hospital, College of Dentistry, Dankook University, Yongin, Korea


Chloral hydrate is the oldest and most common sedative drug used in moderate sedation for pediatric dental patients. Hence, the purpose of this article is to review the safety and possible adverse events of this drug when used for pediatric dental treatment. A bibliographic search in PubMed, MEDLINE, Cochrane Library and KMbase, KISS, DBpia, KoreaMed, and RISS databases was performed. Using the keywords “dental sedation,” “chloral hydrate,” and “children or adolescent,” 512 scientific articles were found. Subsequently, 183 studies were individually assessed for their suitability for inclusion in this literature review. Altogether, 24 studies were selected. They included 12 cases of death before, during, or after chloral hydrate sedation for dental treatment, majorly due to dosing error and use of multiple sedatives. Additionally, intraoperative adverse events were mostly respiratory problems such as hypoxia and apnea, but most events were temporary. After treatment, prolonged sedation, including excessive sleep and less activity were the most common postoperative adverse events, and even death cases were reported. Despite the wide acceptance of chloral hydrate as a sedative-hypnotic agent, the risk of adverse events and adequate dose should be of great concern when using it for pediatric dental sedation.


Adverse Drug Reactions; Child; Chloral Hydrate; Conscious Sedation; Pediatric Dentistry; Safety
Full Text Links
export Copy
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Similar articles
Copyright © 2022 by Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors. All rights reserved.     E-mail: koreamed@kamje.or.kr