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Emergency Drugs and Equipment for Domiciliary Dental Treatment

It is preferable to deliver care in a dental surgery setting, where possible, and domiciliary visits should be undertaken only in cases of genuine patient need rather than dictated solely by convenience [1].

Risk assess every potential episode of domiciliary care to determine if emergency drugs and equipment are required. Assign a risk category taking into account:

  • 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;
  • The patient’s medical history and any possible/likely causes of collapse or reaction to treatment;
  • 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.
    (See also Guidelines for the Transport of Medical Gas Cylinders)
  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.

Sources of Information

  1. Emergency Drugs and Equipment in Primary Dental Care. National Dental Advisory Committee (2015) www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2015/01/8495