Sedation Dentistry Safety Week Kicks Off With A 7-Step Checklist for All Practitioners

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On the first day of Sedation Dentistry Safety Week, dentists across the country are being encouraged to follow "The 7-Step Sedation Dentistry Safety Checklist: A Review of Protocols, Equipment and Supplies." The checklist is prepared by DOCS Education, the nation's leading educator of sedation dentists and their teams. This week marks the first annual drive to promote safe, comfortable, anxiety-free dentistry, with the emphasis on safety.

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The 7-Step Sedation Dentistry Safety Checklist: A Review of Protocols, Equipment and Supplies

With the goal of making the increasing popular use of sedation dentistry as safe as humanly possible, dentists throughout the nation kicked off the first annual Sedation Dentistry Safety Week with a "must do" checklist for all sedation dentistry providers.

"The 7-Step Sedation Dentistry Safety Checklist: A Review of Protocols, Equipment and Supplies" is prepared by DOCS Education, the nation's leading educator of sedation dentists and host of the 2009 Sedation Dentistry Safety Week, March 9-13.

"Regardless of where sedation dentists received their training, we are encouraging everyone who provides their patients with this comfortable, anxiety-free method to use this special week to freshen and review their safety training," says Dr. Michael Silverman, national chairman of Sedation Dentistry Safety Week (SDSW).

SDSW will be held each March to coincide with the switch to daylight savings time.

Sedation dentistry has become an immensely popular form of treatment for adults who were previously squeamish about visiting their dentists for general and even specialized dental procedures. The key is that specially trained dentists evaluate and match each patient with a unique sedation protocol.

The individualized attention, paired with extra safety training, assures patients they will be completely relaxed and comfortable - and in many instances, remember little, if any, of the sights, smells or sounds of their dental visit.

More importantly, DOCS Education emphasizes patient safety as the top priority in all of its training. DOCS Education dentists alone have safely treated more than 1.25 million adult dental patients by carefully adhering to or exceeding guidelines of the American Dental Association and/or regulations set by individual state dental boards.

The 7-Step Sedation Dentistry Safety Checklist is intended as a reminder for dentists and their team members of key steps they can take this week to assure all their patients have a safe, comfortable, effective and pain-free office visit throughout the year. The checklist is designed strictly for those dentists and oral health professionals who have also received specialized training in sedation safety.

7-Step Safety Checklist:

1.    Check all of your monitoring and emergency equipment this week to ensure that it is up-to-code and in working order, including your pulse oximeter, blood pressure monitor, automated external defibrillator and supplemental oxygen delivery system.

2.    Make note of the expiration dates of all your oral sedation medications, emergency drug kit medications, AED pads and AED battery. Continue your weekly checks and documentation of the oxygen levels in your emergency tanks. Place orders this week for any items within 90-days of expiration or if emergency oxygen tank pressure is not completely full.

3.    Make certain your office is equipped with an EZ-IO® intraosseous infusion system if you do not have IV certification or are required to have equipment for establishing IV access and do not feel comfortable running an IV line in an emergency. This equipment provides immediate vascular access for delivering emergency life-savings drugs. Review procedures for using the system.

4.    Run an emergency drill this week and schedule routine practice drills for the months ahead. This is a team-wide effort and everyone should participate. Review where all emergency drugs and equipment are stored and be certain they are easily accessible.

5.    Review your patient intake procedures with all team members and specifically for all scheduled sedation dentistry patients. Always cross-reference your patient's medications, supplements, vitamins, and herbs with the sedative and anesthetic medications you plan to administer. Use a comprehensive program such as Lexi-Comp® drug software. If there are any doubts, confer with a patient's physician ahead of any treatment and document the conversation.

6.    Be certain that you are current on your CPR and/or ACLS (advanced cardiac life support training). Sign up for a refresher course if it is time or if you would feel more confident taking one. Also, make sure your team members are current on their CPR training and that everyone in the office knows how to operate the pulse oximeter and AED.

7.    Register yourself and your team members for refresher courses or advanced training from a trusted and reliable educator, such as DOCS Education. Even those who regularly treat patients with sedation dentistry will benefit from reviewing the very latest safety insights as well as previous course materials.

All dentists who offer oral conscious sedation services to their patients are encouraged to actively participate in Sedation Dentistry Safety Week.

Dentists who would like more information on sedation dentistry safety or wish to order supplies are encouraged to phone: 877-325-3627. That is also the number to contact to register for sedation dentistry and sedation dentistry safety courses. Consumers with questions about fear-free, anxiety-free sedation dentistry can call (888) 858-7972.

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