3 Ways to Prepare For Medical Emergencies During Dental Sedation.

Posted on June 27, 2024

Is your dental team ready for sedation?

Insertion of an i-gel airway into a manikin

If you're utilising sedation in your practice, your team need to be fully prepared to meet your duty of care if your patient becomes unwell.

Serious about managing sedation?

Here are 3 areas to consider:

1. Increased Risk of Medical Emergencies

Your team needs to be able to manage the additional risks associated with sedation including: -

  • Airway obstruction
  • Complete loss of airway
  • General difficulty maintaining an airway.
  • Respiratory Depression
  • Loss of Consciousness

Your team must be confident & ready for such complications & fully understand their role in an emergency. To do this, they'll need regular, dental specific ILS (Immediate Life Support) training.

2. Additional ILS Training in Practice

As well as training in the delivery of sedation, your entire sedation team must have ILS training as per the Intercollegiate Advisory Committee on Sedation in Dentistry (IACSD) Standards for Conscious Sedation in the provision of Dental Care 2015.

As a professional dental team that cares for your patients, your training has to suit your environment. You need dental specific, scenario-based ILS training that prepares you for an emergency above the level of basic CPR & AED training.

Dental staff standing in a row smiling

Training should leave your team feeling confident & prepared for managing an emergency. There's specific equipment & techniques that must be practiced to achieve this including the use of oropharyngeal, nasopharyngeal & I-gel airways.

Understanding the role & responsibility of each member of the team is also key & should form part of your training. You should have dental specific, scenario-based ILS training that prepares your team for an emergency during conscious sedation in your setting.

Although Dental ILS training is annual, your team should complete training as regularly as is required to remain competent & confident to keep your patients safe.

3. Emergency Action Plan

Have you identified the risks & taken action to minimise them?

Review your practice response to a medical emergency & produce an emergency action plan that includes:

  • Communication – Do you have a system for calling for help throughout the practice and calling for further medical support if needed?
  • Emergency Equipment- Is all your emergency medical equipment up to date and are all staff fully familiar with each item and the location where it is kept, including oxygen delivery?
  • Emergency Drugs – Are your emergency drugs current, in date with doses clearly identified and staff familiar with their location and use.
  • Roles and responsibilities – Do all staff know what is expected of them if a patient is taken unwell in the practice. Understanding the roles & responsibilities of each member of the team is also key & should form part of your training.

These Are Just the Basics

These are just some of the things you need to think about when delivering sedation. For more information, the IACSD provide guidance in all aspects of sedation in dentistry here.

P.S - If you need further information on ILS training for your dentistry team, we're here to help. Click Here to book or find out more.