Dental Assistant Emergency Care
The role of Dental Assistant involves being able to perform a variety of
duties. It also requires being detail oriented, alert, and able to react
calmly and quickly in emergency situations. A Dental Assistant
observes all dental procedures, assisting both Dentists and Dental
Hygienists to perform quality procedures for all patients.
While most dental procedures are routine and take place without
incident, emergency situations do take place. Eliminating short cuts for
procedures and staying alert with the focus on the needs of the patient
will help prevent emergencies from occurring. Planning and
preparation can help Dental Assistants be able to resolve issues and
remedy emergency situations with positive results for all involved.
People have been known to stop breathing during dental procedures or
have allergic reactions to local anesthetics. During such a situation, it
is vital that Dental Assistants are properly trained in how to assist. It is
recommended that Dental Assistants know how to perform CPR. Some
dental facilities require monitoring of a patient’s vital signs to help
them monitor for any side effects or other issues.
Another incident that can take place in a dental facility is accidentally
swallowing something, causing the patient to choke. A patient can
choke on dental equipment, tools, extracted teeth, or other materials.
Since most procedures are done under anesthesia, the patient may not
be able to control reflexes to push the object away from the throat.
Dental Assistants must know how to quickly react to prevent serious
injury or death from occurring.
Likewise, objects including dental tools, extractions, and other
materials might be dropped or ricochet, landing in the eye of a patient.
Eye wash stations are generally available in dental facilities. Dental
Assistants need to make sure they are familiar with how they work and
where they are located in the facility.
On occasion, a patient may suffer from other health issues not related
to their dental procedures. These health issues may include a heart
attack, stroke, or blood clot. Therefore, it is important for Dental
Assistants to be trained in basic medical issues as well as those that
relate to dental procedures.
There are other types of emergency situations that can occur in a
dental facility that Dental Assistants can help with. In the event of a
fire, quickly remove all patients from the building. This needs to be
done keeping everyone as calm and comfortable as possible.
During an emergency in the dental facility, patients should not be left
alone under any circumstances. Dental Assistants and other staff
members have a duty to the patient to administer quality emergency
services until the proper medical response team arrives to take over.
It is important for the Dental Assistant to be able to inform the medical
response team of the changes the patient exhibited as well as
documentation of everything that took place prior to the event. This
information can help medical response teams pinpoint the issue faster
and provide adequate medical care.
Since medical emergencies don’t often occur in dental facilities, is
important for staff to have regular meetings and reminders about the
proper procedures in the event an emergency does take place. Practice
drills are a great way to keep the policies and procedures fresh in the
mind of all staff members. It is important to post phone numbers of all
emergency agencies in several locations where all staff can easily
access the information. However, it is not recommended the
information be posted where patients can see it. For those who are
already nervous about coming in for a procedure, seeing that
information is not going to easy their level of anxiety. Being prepared
for such emergencies will make a difference in the outcomes.
Dental Assistants need to address the issue of emergency care at the
start of their employment. If no such policies and procedures are in
place, encourage your employer to establish them. It only takes one
incident of a medical emergency taking place for a dental facility to be
sued. If they are found to be negligent it could result in charges being
filed or the business having to close down. Protecting your job and the
business you work for as well as providing quality procedures for all
patients will ensure job security.
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