Most people have set (dreaded) dental appointments twice a year, more often if you’re experiencing a dental issue. We go in for a routine cleaning, walk out with our free toothbrush and travel toothpaste and go on about our day. How many times have you looked for an Automated External Defibrillators (AED) or asked the dentist if one is available? Some state legislation (but not all) require that dental offices be equipped with an AED. I challenge everyone reading this blog post to do so at your next visit.
A dental office that is prepared can be the difference between life and death for patients experiencing a cardiac emergency. More than 383,000 people experience sudden cardiac arrest each year in the United States, and less than 12% survive. This is one of the most frequently seen medical emergencies in the dental office, and clinicians and bystanders have less than five minutes to act before the victim develops permanent neurological damage. Ensuring staff members are well trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillator use along with having immediate access to an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) are imperative for quick intervention.
Why does this happen at the dentist? Dental practices are seeing an increasing number of elderly and medically compromised patients. In addition, dentists often administer local and general anesthesia. Dental professionals are responsible for maintaining a current medical history for each patient but should also understand that it might not be all-inclusive. Patients who are silently anxious, have undiagnosed heart conditions, or experience severe allergic reactions to dental materials can quickly develop Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that all dentists and dental hygienists be certified in BLS that includes CPR and the proper use of an AED. While the ADA suggests defibrillators be part of every emergency kit, its “Guidelines for the Use of Sedation and General Anesthesia by Dentists” call for a unit to be immediately available in practices that perform deep sedation or general anesthesia. Health care providers cannot be certain how a patient will react to local anesthesia or dental materials. Although immediate activation of emergency medical services (EMS), along with prompt CPR, may buy an affected patient time, once the heartbeat becomes arrhythmic, defibrillation is the only resolution. The key to survival is early recognition and immediate action.
We’ll be glad to customize an AED package for your dental office or answer any questions you may have. Please reach out to us at AED.US or call 800-695-1209.
Written by Blaire Czarniecki
Customer Service Director
Fact checked by Phillip Woods, BA, NREMT-P, FP-C
Blaire attended the University of Tennessee where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology- Child and Family Studies. She has been in the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) industry for over eight years and is the Director of Customer Service for Coro Medical. Blaire is also an American Red Cross-certified CPR/AED/First Aid Instructor, highly trained by each manufacturer on their specific AEDs, and knowledgeable regarding ALL State AED regulations and legislation.
“I know that every day I come to work, I am playing a part in saving someone’s life. I am passionate about these devices and am always looking for new and innovative ways to spread awareness and knowledge about Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). I look forward to the day when everywhere I go, I will see an AED—when SCA will no longer take any lives.”
Last updated March 13, 2019