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Original Research

Open Access

Medical emergencies in dental offices in Slovenia and readiness of dentists to handle them


1Department of Anaesthesiology and Reanimatology, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Medicine, Slovenia

2 Clinical Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Therapy, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Slovenia

DOI: 10.22514/SV141.052018.7 Vol.14,Issue 1,March 2018 pp.43-48

Published: 27 March 2018

*Corresponding Author(s): MAJA ŠOŠTARIČ E-mail:


Introduction. Dentists, and all other den-tal healthcare workers, can expect to face a medical emergency directly or indirectly related to dental treatment. This study evaluates the incidence of medical emer-gencies 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 Medi-cal Chamber of Slovenia via email to all 1503 active dentists in Slovenia. The ques-tionnaire 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 report-ed a medical emergency in their dental of-fice. The most prevalent diagnosis was syn-cope (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 man-age than diagnose a medical emergency. Only 58.1 % (n=161) of dentists have ac-cess 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 postgrad-uate education and specific equipment for dealing with medical emergencies in den-tal offices in Slovenia.


emergencies, dental office, equipment, curriculum

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NEJC UMEK,MAJA ŠOŠTARIČ. Medical emergencies in dental offices in Slovenia and readiness of dentists to handle them. Signa Vitae. 2018. 14(1);43-48.


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