Medical Emergencies do occur in dental setting. Oral health professionals and staff need to be equipped with necessary skills and knowledge in order to be able to manage medical emergencies as they may occur. Early recognition of signs and symptoms of emergency events and familiarity with management procedures are the key to saving patients.

Vasovagal Syncope is the most common emergency in dental practice [1]. It is defined as a transient loss of consciousness due to reduced blood supply to the brain [2]. It is often caused by anxiety. The typical presentation of vasovagal syncope is dizziness accompanied with sweating, feeling of being light headed, slowed pulse rate, and loss of consciousness [1]. Nausea and/ or vomiting may or may not occur [1].

Management of vasovagal syncope includes putting the patient into a supine position, maintain patient airway to ensure access to fresh air, and elevate patient’s legs. Patient should be kept in supine position when regains his/er consciousness and reassured. Dentists should slowly raise the patient into seating position once heart rate and blood pressure restored to normal [2].

By:

Weam Banjar; BDS., Msc. Clinical Research

References:

  1. Greenwood M. Medical emergencies in dental practice: 2. Management of specific medical emergencies. DentalUpdate 2009: 262-67
  2. Dental Council of New Zealand, Code of Practice; Medical emergencies in dental practice. December 2006 (updated January 2008)
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