Sedation Safety Week

Purpose o week is to raise awareness about safe sedation dentistry.

With the purpose of raising awareness about safe sedation dentistry, dentists around the country participated in Sedation Safety Week March 12-16, 2012, with the “Seven-Step Sedation Dentistry Safety Checklist: A Review of Protocols, Equipment and Supplies.”

The checklist was created by DOCS Education, a sedation continuing education organization and the host of the week.

“Managing pain and anxiety are among dentistry’s oldest challenges,” said DOCS Education cofounder and Sedation Safety Week chairman Dr. Michael Silverman.

"Providing dental care with excellence and compassion is the mission of DOCS Education, and the reason we take time annually to observe Sedation Safety Week. It’s a reminder that keeping emergency preparedness and safety skills current is critical to our patients and practices.”

The Seven-Step Sedation Dentistry Safety Checklist is intended to remind dental professionals of key steps they can take to ensure their patients have a safe, comfortable, and effective dental appointment. The checklist is designed specifically for dentists and oral health professionals who have received specialized training in sedation safety.

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Here is the Seven-Step Safety Checklist:

1. Check monitoring and emergency equipment this week to ensure that it is up to code and in working order. This includes the pulse oximeter, blood pressure monitor, automated external defibrillator, and supplemental oxygen delivery system.

2. Make note of the expiration dates of oral sedation medications, emergency drug kit medications, AED pads, and AED battery. Continue weekly checks and documentation of the oxygen levels in emergency tanks. Place orders during the week for items within 90 days of expiration and restore emergency oxygen tanks to full pressure.

3. Make certain the office is equipped with an intraosseous infusion system to help run an IV line in an emergency. This is especially important if you do not have IV certification or are required to have equipment. This equipment provides immediate vascular access for delivering emergency life-savings drugs. Review procedures for using the system.

4. Run an emergency drill during the week and schedule routine practice drills for the upcoming months. This is a teamwide effort, and everyone should participate. Review the locations of emergency drugs and equipment and make sure they are easily accessible.

5. Review your patient intake procedures with all team members—specifically for scheduled sedation dentistry patients. Always cross-reference a patient's medications, supplements, vitamins, and herbs with the sedative and anesthetic medications you plan to administer. Use a comprehensive program, such as Lexi-Comp drug software. If there are any doubts, confer with a patient's physician ahead of any treatment and document the conversation.

6. Be certain that everyone on your team has current CPR and/or ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) training. Sign up for a refresher course, if necessary, or if it would be beneficial. Also, make sure everyone in the office knows how to operate a pulse oximeter and AED.

7. Register the dentist and team members for refresher courses or advanced training from a trusted and reliable educator. Even those who regularly treat patients with sedation dentistry will benefit from reviewing the latest safety insights, as well as previous course materials.

For more information, call (877) 325-3627 or visit

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