Be Prepared to Handle Medical Emergencies in the Dental Office

Be Prepared to Handle Medical Emergencies in the Dental Office

Everyone lives by the mantra that medical emergencies in the dental office will “never happen to us”. Patients certainly don’t think about that when they schedule a dentist appointment. But it is your job as a provider to be prepared for the unthinkable. Failure to plan is a plan to fail. There is risk in what you do whether you think about it or not. We cover medical emergencies in detail in this episode of Talking with the Toothcop—be sure to listen!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:30] Preparing for Medical Emergencies
  • [6:00] Do scenario training until you don’t fail
  • [7:55] Combating opiate abuse in the dental office
  • [13:50] Use your intuition and don’t make stupid decisions
  • [17:15] Sedation Rules: Pre Anesthesia Checklist
  • [21:20] Opioid addiction resources for Texas
  • [24:10] Tracking claim denials and implementing systems
  • [26:00] Learn proper administration of emergency medications
  • [35:50] Why do we do what we do?
  • [39:00] DEA Registration and resources
  • [40:10] ‘Trust but Monitor’ in practice
  • [46:40] People can’t afford for us to get it wrong
  • [48:30] Details about the annual Dental Compliance Bootcamp!

Do scenario training to prepare for medical emergencies in the dental office

Run through scenarios with your team. What do you do if a patient goes into cardiac arrest? What do you do if they have an allergic reaction or don’t handle sedation well? Strategize what you would do in these scenarios and talk about how emotions will play a factor in your ability to carry out what your plan. 

Run through your weaknesses extensively—because a patient can’t afford the luxury of you only playing to your strengths.

The only way to truly prepare for an emergency is to make a plan and test your plan extensively. You cannot run a one-and-done test. You must practice until you don’t get it wrong. Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice until you reach perfection. Remember that it could very well be someone’s life that is at stake and plan accordingly. 

Combating opioid addiction in the dental office

Dentists and dental staff deal with the same problems everyone else does. Unfortunately, due to the nature of their professions, they have easy access to addictive substances. If you’re a dental provider struggling with a problem but claim to have it “managed”—it will catch up with you. Don’t risk your license, your practice, your family, or your life. Get help now. Check out the resources in our show notes.

On the flip-side, you must carefully monitor the controlled substances that you are prescribing. You must check your patient’s consumption history and make sure they are not abusing the system. You have an obligation—both morally and ethically—to treat your patient’s pain, while not jeopardizing your license. Bottom line? Use your intuition and don’t make stupid choices.

Listen as Andrea and I discuss in detail specific stories of opioid abuse and the consequences suffered by those involved. We also talk about DEA registration and why it’s needed for every location you practice at. 

Know how to properly use life-saving medications

You must have an emergency drug kit on hand to deal with whatever medical emergency you feel could arise—and know how to properly administer them. You NEED to be proficient in Basic Life Support (BLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). But don’t just stay up-to-date on your certifications, be sure you consistently practice the procedures.

It does you and your patients no good if you have a certification, but when the time comes that you need it, you fall short. You must provide the highest standard of care and prepare for the worst-case scenario.

If you offer sedation at your practice, you must have the medications on hand to reverse the sedation. Typically you’ll also need to know how to set up an IV and administer medications that way. So practice practice practice.

Why do we do what we do?

Our Mission: build authentic relationships we build our legacy of making dental practices safer for patients, dentists, and staff by holding quality-focused professionals accountable to their standards.

Our Vision: is not merely to exist but to be better, do better, and live better so that no one is harmed by a dental practice.

Our goal is to equip you to think for yourself and practice the “trust but monitor” mantra. Always be sure to locate the source of the information—even when it’s coming from me. Remember, our patients can’t afford for us to make mistakes!

Resources & People Mentioned

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