National Dental Advisory Committee - Emergency Drugs & Equipment in Primary Dental Care

Report on the use of emergency drugs and equipment in Primary Dental Care.

Emergency drugs and equipment for domiciliary dental treatment

Where possible, it is preferable to deliver care in a dental surgery setting. Clinicians should satisfy themselves that a patient requires a domiciliary visit because of genuine need and not personal choice dictated solely by convenience.

Every episode of domiciliary care should be risk assessed, assigned a risk category and a decision made as to whether it is necessary and, if so, how any risk should be mitigated.

In making this decision clinicians should take into account:

1. The nature of the dental care. Some dental procedures such as examinations and the construction of dentures are essentially non-invasive and will carry a much lower risk.

2. The patient's medical history and any possible/likely causes of collapse or reaction to treatment.

3. The physical environment and any possible risks related to this.

Low risk: If it is thought that the dental procedure presents a low risk to the patient then emergency drugs and equipment need not be taken on the domiciliary visit.

Moderate Risk: Where the care provided is deemed to be of moderate risk, the following recommended emergency drugs and equipment must be available to the dental team in the domiciliary setting.

1. Emergency drugs kit and single-use sterile syringes.

2. Portable oxygen with flow-meter, tubing and a face mask capable of delivering high concentrations of oxygen.

3. Oro-pharyngeal airways and bag-valve-mask.

4. Portable independently powered suction machine with appropriate suction tips and tubing.

5. Spacer device for inhaled bronchodilators.

Significant risk: If the risk assessment determines that there would be a significant risk of patient collapse or reaction to the dental procedure in a domiciliary setting, the dental team should refer the patient to the Public Dental Service or local hospital dental department as appropriate.


Email: Elizabeth Mclear

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