When confronting a defiant or pre-co-operative young patient with extensive dental decay the dentist must decide between treatment under conscious sedation with passive restraint or general anaesthesia. Although some practitioners prefer to attempt and exhaust sedative techniques in most cases and use general anaesthesia as a last resort, many others do not mandate that alternate approaches first be attempted before treating under general anaesthesia and routinely recommend it as their first choice. What are the considerations involved in this decision-making process? Should the use of conscious sedation with restraint be revisited and perhaps even be considered the preferred method? What is the role of the dentist in the decision-making process? The purpose of this opinion-based paper is to present to the UK dentist a dilemma that paediatric dentists face in the US and in other countries as well and allow the reader to establish an opinion.
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