Any medical practitioner or dentist can encounter multiple medical emergencies in dentistry. Medical emergencies are potential life threatening situations that demand immediate attention and effective management. Each dental practitioner must have the knowledge and skills that are necessary to identify and pacify medical emergencies in dentistry. For dental cases, each patient should know where to go for a dental emergency. An emergency dentist must promptly identify and manage emergencies as efficiently as possible in order to achieve desirable results.
In case of medical complication, the dental specialist should manage the situation by maintaining the patient in a proper, position, airway, breathing, circulation and effect definitive treatment. This post will familiarize you with common dental emergencies and complications that may occur in a dental clinic or context.
Basic Principle Applied in Dental Medical Emergencies
The number one rule in managing any medical emergency involves providing BLS measures (Basic Life Support) and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). In a dental clinic medical emergencies are rare occurrences, what occurs more commonly are is incidents of complications. These may occur immediately or after a dental procedure. These nature of these dental emergencies and incidents depend on the type of treatment that a patient undergoes, materials use and the patient’s tolerance levels.
The most common dental emergency is aspiration. Aspiration results from the blockage of a patient’s airway and it is exhibited through chocking. During a dental procedure, a patient might experience aspiration as a result of instrument slippage, e.g broaches, reamers or files, crowns during removal, broken instruments and so on. In case a patient aspirates from a broken instrument, it is usually removed with the help of ultrasonic technology, micro tube delivery methods or operating microscopes.
2. Anaphylaxis/ Allergies
Severe allergic reaction due to exposure of the patient to certain materials is a commonly encountered dental emergency. Some patients exhibit allergic reactions to rubber dam, latex, mercury, and impression material. Allergic reactions can manifest in the form of pruritis, utricaria, erythema, and angioneurotic edema. The dental specialist should determine the allergen and remove it from the patient’s exposure and use a substitute material or product.
3. Cardiac Arrest
The other not so common dental emergency involves the interference of a cardiac pacemaker with a dentist’s electronic device. Dental devices that may interfere with a pacemaker include a ultrasonic scaler, Battery run composite curing light and a ultrasonic cleaning system.
4. Dental Implant Therapy Emergencies
More serious dental emergencies and complications are encountered during implant therapy. Some dental emergencies in this category include hemorrhaging, jaw bone fractures (Mandibular fractures), neuro-sensory alteration and damage to the adjacent teeth.
5. Other Medical Emergencies in Dentistry
Other emergencies include seizures, local anesthetics toxicity, asthma attacks, chest pain and syncope.