Medical emergencies in the dental surgery.

Part 1: preparation of the office and basic management

Précis

Preparation for, and basic management of, medical emergencies occurring in the dental surgery are discussed. Prompt recognition and management can result in a successful outcome.

Abstract

Statement of the problem: Medical emergencies can and do happen in the dental surgery. In the 20- to 30-year practice lifetime of the typical dentist, he/she will encounter between five and seven emergency situations. Being prepared in advance of the emergency increases the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Purpose of the paper: To prepare members of the dental office staff to be able to promptly recognise and efficiently manage those medical emergency situations that can occur in the dental office environment.

Materials and methods: Preparation of the dental office to promptly recognise and efficiently manage medical emergencies is predicated on successful implementation of the following four steps: basic life support for ALL members of the dental office staff; creation of a dental office emergency team; activation of emergency medical services (EMS) when indicated; and, basic emergency drugs and equipment. The basic emergency algorithm (P→C→A→B→D) is designed for implementation in all emergency situations.

Results and conclusions: Prompt implementation of the basic emergency management protocol can significantly increase the likelihood of a successful result when medical emergencies occur in the dental office environment.

Stanley F. Malamed
DDS
Dentist Anesthesiologist, Emeritus Professor of Anesthesia & Medicine, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, Los Angeles, California, USA
E: malamed@usc.edu