Medical emergencies are common, yet manageable, issue in the dental office. From the most-frequent type of condition—a patient fainting (called syncope)—to a cardiac event, every dental office must be prepared to render aid before a medical EMT can arrive.
It’s important to contextualize the prevalence of medical emergencies in the dental practice. In a survey of 4,307 North American dentists1, the vast majority, 94.9%, had encountered at least one medical emergency during their dental career (average length 14.7 years). A total of 30,608 emergencies were reported by these dentists, an average of 7.1 emergencies per doctor, or one emergency every two years of practice.
According to Dental Anesthesiologist Dr. Stanley Malamed, who has taught medical emergency management to thousands of dental professionals, every office should have in place four building blocks.
- Basic Life Support (BLS)
- Office emergency response plan and team
- Access to emergency services (911)
- Equipment for medical emergencies.
Consult this infographic for a quick guide to plan your preparedness and response. Need assistance? Contact HealthFirst at 800-331-1984, or email us.
1 Malamed SF. Managing medical emergencies. J Am Dent Assoc 1993; 124:40-53