How to Handle a Medical Emergency in the Dental Setting

Preparing For Medical Emergencies
By Meghan A. McGuinness, RDH, BS, MA, EdD

Medical emergencies in dental settings occur for a variety of reasons. A survey revealed that among 2,704 dentists polled over 10 years, more than 13,000 medical emergencies took place. The chief reason is an increase in the number of older adults seeking dental services. In addition, many of these patients use polypharmacy, which, in turn, can increase medical complications. Another factor stems from medical advances that are allowing patients who are medically compromised to live a higher quality of life, which includes seeking dental services. In clinical practice, these varied conditions and prescriptions must be considered when selecting dental anesthetics, as they may inhibit a patient’s ability to adapt to stressful situations.

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