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Is David after Dentist okay?


YouTube sensation David DeVore (Youtube.com)

Okay, I'll bite.

I've refrained for all these months from jumping on the David After Dentist bandwagon. But today I couldn't hold back any longer. What was this hyperdontia that sent the seven-year-old boy to the dentist in the first place? And was young David's loopy post-surgery response a sign that perhaps the dentist should have kept him under observation a bit longer?

All you millions of D-After-D viewers can join me in relaxing. Despite his unsettling utterances and frightening faces, David was reacting normally to a perfectly normal kind of surgery.

I spoke to Mary Hayes, national spokesperson for pediatric dentistry for the American Dental Association and a dentist in private practice in Chicago. She told me that hyperdontia -- the presence of an extra tooth -- is "not rare, but not common, either." It affects an estimated 3 percent to 8 percent of the population. In David DeVore's case, Hayes's close examination of the YouTube video and of later footage of the boy suggests that his extra tooth may have been preventing his second incisor from coming in.

As for the anesthesia, Hayes says that while some of her professional colleagues expressed concern that David was "so sedated when he went out" of the dentist's office, in fact he met the key criteria for release -- as long as he remained under a grownup's watchful eye. David appears in the video to be in a state of "conscious sedation," in which he seems fairly alert, can talk, can hold his head upright and has sufficient reflexes to right himself if his head drops. David would not have been very aware of what was going on around him, Hayes explains, and he would have no memory of it afterward. Thank goodness for Dad's new videocam.

Depending on the child and on the sedating medication he's given, the effects of sedation could end in 15 or 20 minutes or endure for a couple of hours, Hayes says.

The greatest danger to a child in David's post-operative condition would be for him to fall asleep and allow his head to land in a position that would compromise his airways, preventing him from breathing. Hayes says that David's dad appeared to be doing the right things: strapping David into his car seat, keeping an eye on him and engaging him in conversation. Good job, Dad!

Sedation is never to be undertaken lightly, Hayes reminds us, though it certainly allows for important surgeries to be conducted.

I'm really glad I got to talk to Hayes. Now I can fully enjoy watching David's antics without worrying about the little guy. Hope you can, too.

Tweet about David After Dentist or anything else with me and the other Local Living writers at @wposthome/local-living. And keep track of my "Me Minus 10" effort to lose 10 pounds before I turn 50 at twitter.com/jhuget.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  April 7, 2010; 3:01 PM ET
Categories:  Dental Health , General Health , Social Media  
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