J Dent Anesth Pain Med.  2022 Jun;22(3):205-216. 10.17245/jdapm.2022.22.3.205.

Analysis of sedation and general anesthesia in patients with special needs in dentistry using the Korean healthcare big data

  • 1Department of Dental Anesthesiology, School of Dentistry, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea


People with special needs tend to require diverse behavioral management in dentistry. They may feel anxious or uncomfortable or may not respond to any communication with the dentists. Patients with medical, physical, or psychological disorders may not cooperate and therefore require sedation (SED) or general anesthesia (GA) to receive dental treatment. Using the healthcare big data in Korea, this study aimed to analyze the trends of SED and GA in special needs patients undergoing dental treatment. It is believed that these data can be used as reference material for hospitals and for preparation of guidelines and related policy decisions of associations or governments for special needs patients in dentistry.
The study used selected health information data provided by the Korean National Health Insurance Service. Patients with a record of use of one of the eight selected drugs used in dental SED between January 2007 and September 2019, those with International Classification of Diseases-10 codes for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), phobia, brain disease, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, genetic disease, autism, mental disorder, mental retardation, and dementia were selected. The insurance claims data were analyzed for age, sex, sedative use, GA, year, and institution.
The number of special needs patients who received dental treatment under SED or GA from January 2007 to September 2019 was 116,623. Number of SED cases was 136,018, performed on 69,265 patients, and the number of GA cases was 56,308, implemented on 47,257 patients. In 2007, 3100 special needs patients received dental treatment under SED while in 2018 the number of cases increased 6 times to 18,528 SED cases. In dentistry, ADHD was the most common disability for SED cases while phobia was the most common cause of disability for GA. The male-to-female ratio with respect to SED cases was higher for males (M : F = 64.36% : 35.64%).
The application of the SED method and GA for patients with special needs in dentistry is increasing rapidly; thus, preparing guidelines and reinforcing the education and system are necessary.


Big Data; Dental Sedation; General Anesthesia; Healthcare; People with Disability
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