Monthly Archives: June 2019

A dental professional’s guide to preventing medical emergencies: To be forewarned is to be forearmed

Do we really know what we are getting into at the beginning of each and every dental day? We typically expect for each day to be like the last: successful and without mishap. I once read that 90% of life-threatening situations can be prevented. But how?

Prior to treatment, the patient will complete a medical history form, which is a moral and legal necessity to all health care professions. As important as the completed written medical history form is for the overall health of the patient, it has its limitations.

As a dental professional, I play an important role in emergency prevention. I often casually converse with the patient upon seating by asking how they feel about the day’s treatment or how they’re feeling in general. Responses from the patient could include having a headache, feeling hunger or feeling stressed. This is all part of physical evaluation. Once I develop a good idea of the patient’s physical circumstances and psychological state of mind, I communicate with the dentist. This is especially important if I hear of a potential emergency trigger.  As patients tend to be nervous, scared or stressed to see the dentist, they may choose to confide in another dental team member instead. The physical evaluation tactic is used to determine how and if the patient should be treated (forewarned). A dental clinic should not feel obligated to treat a patient if they feel the patient is at risk of an emergency. We ask ourselves before the start of treatment: Should we sedate the patient for comfort? Are they able to tolerate the treatment? Do we need to modify treatment in any way? (forearmed).

As dental professionals, we care about the well-being of our patients. That is why understanding and performing a physical evaluation is so important. These physical evaluations aid in the prevention of a medical emergency.

Geistlich Pharma: interview with Dr. Steven Eckert – simplicity and clarity are the keys to success

Scientific research and literature remain the foundation of each avenue of dentistry. Dr. Giulia Cerino, Manager of Medical Communications at Geistlich Pharma, sits down with Dr. Steven Eckert to discuss the keys to success in regard to scientific research. Dr. Steven Eckert definitely has a library of tips and experience being a researcher himself as well as the Editor-in-Chief for the International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Implants. Whether you are conducting your own research, or you are looking forward to an interesting read – checking out this interview is without-a-doubt worthwhile.

A cleaner office is a safer office: tackling infection control in the dental setting

Cleanliness and infection control have certainly come a long way in the dental office. I mean, there was once a time when you would go to your local barber and squeeze in a dental visit at the same time (seriously – believe it or not, barbering and dentistry co-existed up until the 1800s!). Nowadays, cleanliness is a top priority for dental offices, and for good reason.

In all areas of healthcare, infection control remains immensely important – and that is no exception in dentistry. Whether it is cross-contamination, infectious aerosols or harbouring bacteria, there seems to be an endless list of concerns to tackle in the dental setting.

Without proper precautions in place, bacteria and disease transmission poses a threat to both the dental professional and the patient. I understand that this sounds particularly daunting but, fear not! In today’s day-and-age of dentistry we have the solution for infection prevention to put the mind of both the dental professional and the patient at ease. Thank goodness for that because we wouldn’t want to revert back to the barber and dentist 2-for-1 deal!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is your go-to guide for all things infection control. A good place to start would be checking out the “Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings”. Here you can find how dental personnel can protect themselves and patients from infection. Whether it’s proper handing washing, safe injection processes or instrument sterilization, you’ve really struck the gold mine of dental safety precautions.

From this exhaustive list of precautions, I’d like to point out arguably the most stylish recommendation – personal protective equipment. These gloves, masks and gowns don’t resemble designer brands, but they are critical, nonetheless. The CDC advises for the use of gloves in situations involving possible exposure to blood, bodily fluids, mucous membranes, non-intact skin and other potentially infectious material. On top of that, such gloves are not to be worn with more than one patient and must be single use, washing the gloves is not an option. Similarly, gowns and masks are to be worn to protect skin during procedures where exposure to blood and bodily fluids is expected.

During essentially any dental procedure, you can expect exposure to bodily fluids – it is inevitable. As you can see from the CDC guidelines, it’s no surprise that personal protective equipment is a must in a dental setting. Fortunately, a brand by the name of OMNIA has you covered (literally and figurately) for all of your protection and infection control needs. Better yet, OMNIA offers different pre-assembled sets of disposables depending on the dental procedure at hand. These procedure kits allow infection control to be handled by providing dental professionals with all of the sterile and disposable materials they may need for the task at hand.

Approaching infection control with confidence is a breeze with OMNIA procedure kits in your cleanliness arsenal.

REFERENCES

Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings. (2018) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/infectioncontrol/summary-infection-prevention-practices/standard-precautions.html

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