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Dental mythbuster 24: Medical resuscitation equipment for domiciliary dental care

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Dentists must consider what resuscitation equipment they need when they carry out domiciliary dental treatment.

We consider how medical resuscitation equipment is deployed during domiciliary dental care in the safe question. This relates to:

Invasive dental treatment

Risk assessment

We expect dental practice teams to undertake a full risk assessment before carrying out treatment. This would include:

  • any medical risks posed by the patients’ medical history
  • how suitable a person’s home is to carry out treatment. (For example, nursing or care homes may have resuscitation equipment and emergency medicines).

The British Society for Disability and Oral Health have published a risk assessment tool.

It will be necessary to balance the risk between patients at the practice and those receiving care at home. For example, should a practice defibrillator be removed while patients are being treated at the practice? Could domiciliary visits take place when other practitioners in a practice are not providing dental care?

It will sometimes be necessary to visit a patient in their home, or care setting to assess the risks of providing care.

Transporting oxygen

The risk assessment may show that an oxygen cylinder is needed. If so, transport it safely in line with national recommendations. There are no specific regulations covering the carriage of small quantities of medical gases in small cylinders. However, some suppliers of medical oxygen recommend you carry a transport emergency card (TREM card). This gives information on how cylinders should be handled in an emergency. The HSE website gives further advice on transporting small quantities of oxygen.

Non-invasive dental treatment

This includes:

  • dental examinations
  • oral health assessments
  • providing dentures.

For these services, we would not necessarily expect dental teams to take the full range of resuscitation equipment on a home visit. This is in line with other health care professionals such as GPs. What equipment is taken depends on the risks identified in the risk assessment. We would expect the practitioner would take appropriate emergency drugs when undertaking domiciliary visits.

The approach we describe here has been agreed with the General Dental Council.

Last updated:
15 November 2018