NC dental board considers rule changes

March 11, 2014 GMT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners could change rules on emergency response and training after a second death linked to “conscious sedation.”

The board is asking for public and professional comment on changes in the rules and procedures for dentistry and sedation, The News & Observer of Raleigh ( ) reported.

Board operations officer Bobby White says he expects changes to be made in response to the comments.

“Conscious sedation” is supposed to depress patients’ consciousness but keep them responsive. Both dentists involved in the suspected dentistry-related deaths had permits for conscious sedation dentistry.

The deaths happened in 2012 and 2013.

In the first death, the board found that Cary dentist Toni Mascherin had ignored a patient’s medical history and an assistant’s warnings that the patient had turned blue, according to the board’s license revocation documents from September.


In the second death, the board has evidence that Williamston dentist Zachary Harrison gave sedative drugs to “a patient who was not a good candidate for outpatient deep sedation, which resulted in the death of that patient,” according to an emergency “summary suspension” by the board Dec. 2. Harrison has requested a public hearing on the accusations, White said.

White says the review might include ways to better train dentists, methods for response to emergencies and how to select patients for various treatments.

The first public comment hearing is set for Greensboro on March 28.


Information from: The News & Observer,