A Review of Medical Emergencies in Dental Practice
Background: Medical emergencies in dental practice are those adverse medical events that may present in the course of dental treatment. Each of those events requires a correct diagnosis for effective and safe management. The contemporary dentist must be prepared to manage expeditiously and effectively those few problems that may arise with specific response. Basic life support is all that is required to manage many emergency situations, with the addition of specific drug therapy in some others.
Objectives: The aims of this paper are to provide an overview of medical emergencies that can present in dental practice, highlight the basic emergency medications and equipment that should be available in a dental clinic, outline the prevention and management of such emergencies, describe the specific response to some of the more common medical emergencies that can present in the course of a dental treatment and make recommendation for training and preparedness for handling medical emergencies.
Methodology: Review of available literature on the subject matter via electronic search engines of Google- PubMed and Medline.
Results: Medical emergencies are quite common in dental practice and the most common, from scientific studies and anecdotal evidences, is syncope; and dental surgeons, their staff and offices are usually ill prepared to handle these emergencies.
Conclusion: Medical emergencies may be rare but they are challenging occurrences in the dental clinic, tasking the knowledge, skills and materials available to the practice. Adequate staff training and availability of appropriate drugs and equipment are essential in the management of emergencies that may arise in the dental clinic.
Recommendation: An improvement in the training of dental surgeons including realistic simulation training in the management of medical emergencies, at the undergraduate, post-graduate and the continuing education levels.