New emergency preparedness information available for dental offices

May 3, 2010, Tufts University

Best practices for managing medical emergencies in dental clinics have evolved over the past decade to account for advances in knowledge and the development of new medications and medical equipment. Morton Rosenberg, DMD, of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and an expert on dental anesthesiology, integrated existing guidelines with new information to create an updated list of emergency medications and equipment for dental providers, including an emergency preparedness checklist.

"Every dentist will likely manage a medical emergency during the course of their practice. Planning for such an emergency involves preparing and educating clinical staff, ensuring that medical equipment is accessible and functional, and stocking emergency medications," said Rosenberg, professor in the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery and head of the division of anesthesia and pain control at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.

Rosenberg provides an updated emergency preparedness checklist to prepare dental providers for medical emergencies that may occur in the clinical setting, as well as a detailed list of emergency medications and equipment. Medical emergencies that may occur in a clinical setting include allergic reaction to medications, hyperventilation, or .

Rosenberg advises that specific medications be stocked and regularly checked to ensure they have not exceeded their expiration dates, including oxygen, epinephrine, nitroglycerin, and reversal drugs. He proposes a list of emergency medical equipment to be readily available and accessible, including an automated external defibrillator (AED) and a portable oxygen delivery system. In the paper, Rosenberg details the appropriate actions and administration of medication and uses of equipment based on the medical emergency.

"Emergency preparedness includes adequate training so that dentists and staff respond reflexively to an emergency situation and facilitate better diagnosis and care of the patient," said Rosenberg.

The paper is published in a supplement on medical emergencies in the May 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

Rosenberg is a professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery and head of the division of anesthesia and pain control at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. He is also an associate professor in the department of anesthesiology at Tufts University School of Medicine. Rosenberg is the co-author of a textbook, entitled Medical Emergencies in Dentistry.

More information: Rosenberg M. The Journal of the American Dental Association. 2010. (May 1); 141 (5): 14S-19S. "Preparing for medical emergencies: the essential drugs and equipment for the dental office."

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