Table of Contents
As a dental professional, it is crucial to be prepared for any unexpected situation that could arise during treatment. That’s why having a well-equipped emergency kit in your office is essential. While the specific requirements for dental emergency kits may vary depending on your state’s dental board, there are some basic necessities that every dental office should have. In this article, we will explore what should be included in a dental office emergency kit and how to ensure that you are prepared for any emergency that may occur.
Meeting ADA Recommendations
The American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs has outlined the basic requirements for dental office emergency kits. These recommendations serve as a minimum standard that every dental practice should strive to meet. However, it is important to note that some states may have more stringent requirements, so it is essential to check with your state dental board or dental association to ensure compliance beyond the ADA recommendations.
Additional Emergency Standards
Practices that administer oral conscious sedation are subject to additional emergency standards set by state dental boards. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with these specific requirements and ensure that your emergency kit meets all necessary guidelines. In addition to this, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that emergency supplies be available in case of employee injuries. It is recommended to maintain separate emergency kits for both employees and patients.
Assembling the Emergency Kit
There are two options for obtaining an emergency kit: assembling it yourself or purchasing a pre-assembled kit. Commercial emergency drug kits for dentistry offer the advantage of consistent drug availability and regular updates. However, regardless of the source, it is essential to document regular checks on the expiration dates of all emergency equipment and drugs.
The Importance of Training
While stocking emergency medications is crucial, it is equally important to have the necessary training to administer them correctly. Failing to do so can lead to serious liabilities. Dentists should engage in continuing education to stay updated on emergency protocols. It is recommended to establish an emergency plan for your office and ensure that the entire team, including the dentist and staff, is certified in basic life support. The Dentists Insurance Company (TDIC) provides a comprehensive dental office emergency protocol in their Risk Management Reference Guide, available online at Make You Smile.
Essential Drugs for the Emergency Kit
According to the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs, the following drugs should be included as a minimum in your dental office emergency kit:
- Epinephrine 1:1,000 (injectable)
- Histamine-blocker (injectable)
- Oxygen with positive-pressure administration capability
- Nitroglycerin (sublingual tablet or aerosol spray; be aware of contraindications)
- Bronchodilator (asthma inhaler)
- Sugar (a quick source of glucose such as orange juice)
Additional Items for Patient Emergency Kits
In addition to the essential drugs, it is important to include the following items in a patient emergency kit:
- Aromatic ammonia
- Blood pressure monitoring equipment
- CPR pocket mask
- High-volume suction and aspiration tips or tonsillar suction
OSHA Recommendations for Employee Emergency Kits
OSHA requires employers to have emergency kits for employees. Here are the recommended supplies for small work sites (approximately two to three employees). Larger practices should provide additional supplies or emergency kits as needed:
- Directions for requesting emergency assistance
- Gauze pads (at least 4 x 4 inches)
- Two large gauze pads (at least 8 x 10 inches)
- One box of adhesive bandages
- One package gauze roller bandage (at least 2 inches wide)
- Two triangular bandages
- Wound cleaning agent (such as sealed moistened towelettes)
- At least one blanket
- Adhesive tape
- Latex gloves
- Resuscitation equipment (such as resuscitation bag, airway or pocket mask)
- Two elastic wraps
Remember, if you have any questions or need further information on this topic, you can contact the TDIC Risk Management Advice Line at 800.733.0634.
By following these guidelines and ensuring that your dental office emergency kit is well-stocked and regularly maintained, you can provide the best possible care for your patients in any situation. Stay prepared, stay safe, and continue making people smile.