Send to

Choose Destination
J Am Dent Assoc. 2010 May;141 Suppl 1:8S-13S.

Preparing dental office staff members for emergencies: developing a basic action plan.

Author information

Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, 124 Edward St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



A medical emergency can occur in any dental office, and managing it successfully requires preparation. The dentist should develop a basic action plan that is understood by all staff members. The goal is to manage the patient's care until he or she recovers fully or until help arrives. The most important aspect of almost all medical emergencies in dentistry is to prevent or correct insufficient oxygenation of the brain or heart. The dentist or a staff member needs to position (P) the patient appropriately. He or she then needs to assess and, if needed, manage the airway (A), breathing (B) and circulation (C). The dentist and staff members then can consider 'D,' which stands for definitive treatment, differential diagnosis, drugs or defibrillation. A team approach should be used, with each staff member trained in basic life support and understanding the role expected of him or her ahead of time. Clear and effective communication is essential during any emergency.


All staff members should understand the basic action plan so that they can put it into effect should any emergency arise in the dental office.


Preparing staff members is integral to the successful management of a medical emergency in the dental office.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center