Introduction. Dentists, and all other dental healthcare workers, can expect to face a medical emergency directly or indirectly related to dental treatment. This study evaluates the incidence of medical emergencies in dental offices in Slovenia, the readiness of dentists and possession of specific medical equipment.
Methods. An anonymous online based questionnaire was sent through the Medical Chamber of Slovenia via email to all 1503 active dentists in Slovenia. The questionnaire was pilot-tested on 25 dentists and improved accordingly. Thirty closed-ended questions were answered by 289 (19.2 %) dentists.
Results. 93.4 % (n=267) of dentists reported a medical emergency in their dental office. The most prevalent diagnosis was syncope (1.88-2.44/dentist/year) followed by hypoglycaemia (0.20-0.25/dentist/year), hypertensive crisis (0.4/dentists/year) and anaphylaxis (0.3/dentists/year). There were no cardiac arrests reported in the dentists’ entire careers. 85.1 % (n=239) of dentists underwent postgraduate BLS training, 87.4 % (n=209) of them in the last 5 years. Responding dentists estimated that they are most capable of dealing with syncope and least proficient in dealing with stroke, cardiac arrest and a hypertensive crisis. They felt generally more prepared to manage than diagnose a medical emergency. Only 58.1 % (n=161) of dentists have access to a self-inflating bag with a reservoir, and 54.9 % (n=152) to an oxygen mask. Only 4.0 % (n=11) of them have a full set of equipment recommended by Medical Chamber of Slovenia.
Conclusions. Results support modification of the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum for dental students to address specific medical emergencies and the usage of limited equipment. They support more rigorous regulations concerning postgraduate education and specific equipment for dealing with medical emergencies in dental offices in Slovenia.
Key words: emergencies, dental office, equipment, curriculum