Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Is Your Dentist Prepared for a Chairside Emergency?

It isn't a common occurrence, necessarily.  But it does happen.  Medical emergencies in the dental chair can't always be prevented but the risks can be drastically reduced if the patient and the doctor are completely transparent and open with each other about illnesses, medication and health history. All dentists have at least some training for medical emergency treatment, however in addition he/she should have at least one staff member trained in CPR, and have an emergency plan in place which includes emergency phone numbers, a defibrillator, medications on hand and procedures to stop bleeding, etc. He should take your blood pressure reading and heart rate prior to treatment, and again after treatment. If administering general anesthesia, he should be anesthesia certified. Some states issue separate licenses for anesthesia. Always make sure he is certified, or that he has a certified anesthesiologist on staff!
 
That said, here are some helpful suggestions for the patient to remember when having a procedure done:

  • Disclose all medications that you take daily, even if it is just an aspirin or something over the counter. 
  • If you have ever had high blood pressure, let the dentist know!
  • If you suffer from acute anxiety, say so!  Many dentists cater to the anxious patient. Things can be done to help you with that. 
  • If you are pregnant, let him know!
  • If you have allergies to medications, let him know! 
  • If you have taken anything prior to your visit for relaxation....a sedative, an alcoholic beverage, marijuana....seriously, he needs this information. Many people will do this before a visit and not disclose it thinking it won't pose a problem. The dentist isn't going to judge you, but he is going to treat you and there is a serious liability factor involved, especially when it comes to anesthesia, so don't hold anything back!  

The medical history of the patient is the single most helpful thing for a dentist to have before treatment begins.  Your honesty is imperative.  He cannot effectively manage your treatment plan without this knowledge!

Keep Smiling!

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