patient safety in dentistry

5 Basic Procedures for Dental Patient Safety

patient safety in dentistry

Establishing patient safety in dentistry is equally as important as patient safety in clinical environments. (Photo courtesy of Fotolia)

The following guest post on patient safety in dentistry was submitted by Chris Hinchly.

Patient safety efforts are meant to prevent unintentional harm to patients due to healthcare. When providing surgical and medical treatment, medical experts have found it quite difficult to keep accidents from occurring. The inability of healthcare professionals to prevent these accidents was the main reason why patient safety was introduced as a discipline in healthcare. For a long time, healthcare providers have been interested in the safety of their patients. For them, it is a legal and ethical duty to ensure that their patients are safe.

Nowadays, many healthcare providers measure and record damage inflicted unintentionally on patients and seek ways in which it can be avoided in future. Dentistry has been doing poorly in terms of keeping patients safety.

One effective way of prevent damage to patients in dentistry is reporting the adverse events so they can be investigated. Organizations such as the World Dental Federation (WDF) and the General Board of Dentistry and Stomatology (OESPO) in Spain have come up with initiatives to prevent risks in dentistry. The following are five basic procedures that will ensure dental patient safety.

1. Healthcare Systems to Prioritize Patient Safety

Patient safety in any branch of medicine has to start with the healthcare system as a whole. Medical practitioners should make the safety of patients a goal as they go about their business. They need to be keen on medical procedures so as to prevent any injuries. Members of a dental team should also make it their responsibility to report errors and accidents and discuss it amongst themselves when they hold staff meetings.

2. Dentists to Focus on Clinical Records

The importance of clinical records cannot be overemphasized. According to OESPO, a dentist ought to check the patient’s medical history before treatment. It is also important that clinical records showing allergies, pathologies and medication be updated regularly. All these measures aim at helping the dentist to treat the patient without making any unnecessary errors.

3. Avoid Reuse of Tools and Packaging Material Meant for Treatment Only

One of the main causes of errors in dentistry is the reuse of containers to package other materials. It brings about a lot of confusion as the dental care providers may end up giving the wrong treatment. If a particular material is to be disposed after use, dentists should ensure that it is done. If reused, these disposable materials may spread infections among patients. Containers should not be reused because they have fewer preservatives and could infect the areas where they kept.

4. Be Cautious When Prescribing Medication

Giving the wrong prescription in dentistry is something that occurs often. Medical experts in this field, however, can take measures to ensure cases like this are eliminated. One way is letting the patient know about the prescription. Give the details: when to take, number of injections, duration and tell the patient the importance of following the doctor’s advice.

The dentist should also look at the patient’s medical history before making any prescriptions. Keenness on the doses given is also crucial. Talking to their patients and recording their reaction to medication is also equally vital.

5. Readiness for Emergencies

Emergency cases in dentistry are few but when they happen when the dental team is not prepared. It can be a painful experience for the patient. The goal here is for members of the dental team to be ready with treatment, and know their roles once they are informed that they need to attend to an emergency situation. During this situation, dentists should keep close to the patients and accompany them in the event that they are transferred to another medical facility.

Many of the adverse events happening in dental care are as a result of a few mistakes. These basic procedures will help significantly reduce their occurrence.

Chris is an SEO technician with a love for creativity and copywriting. Born and raised in the audio-visual trade, Chris is a huge enthusiast of all things Technological and loves writing about it, especially Digital Gadgets and Internet Marketing. Chris also has numerous experience copywriting in the medical and dental industry.