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Prevalence of medical emergency events in primary dental care within the UK

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Melissa Sin, David Edwards, Dr Charlotte CurrieORCiD, Dr Ian Corbett



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023, The Author(s).Introduction Dental professionals have an ethical and legal obligation to diagnose and manage medical emergencies which may occur in primary dental care. Aims and objectives To investigate the prevalence of medical emergencies in UK primary dental care and explore the medical emergency training needs of UK primary dental care professionals. Design and setting Cross-sectional survey, targeting dentists, dental hygienists and dental therapists across the UK working within primary dental care. Materials and methods An online survey was distributed via dental society mailing lists, social media groups and a dental conference. The questionnaire consisted of participants demographics and training in, prevalence of and confidence surrounding medical emergencies. Results Respondents (n = 400) were dentists (55.8%), dental hygienists/therapists (38.8%) and specialists (5.5%). Most participants received basic life support training (62%) in 2019, before COVID-19. The most common medical emergencies were syncope, non-specific collapse and hypoglycaemia, being encountered every 1.59, 1.64 and 8.26 years, respectively. The preferred method for medical emergency training was practical based, with more training in administering emergency drugs and equipment identified as a training need. Conclusion Dental professionals will encounter medical emergencies in primary dental care every 1-2 years and are therefore not uncommon.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sin M, Edwards D, Currie C, Corbett I

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Dental Journal

Year: 2023

Volume: 235

Issue: 9

Pages: 721-726

Print publication date: 10/11/2023

Online publication date: 10/11/2023

Acceptance date: 19/06/2023

Date deposited: 21/11/2023

ISSN (print): 0007-0610

ISSN (electronic): 1476-5373

Publisher: Springer Nature


DOI: 10.1038/s41415-023-6444-y


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