You are here
Dental mythbuster 25: Sepsis
Sepsis following a bacterial infection from a dental condition or treatment is rare. This life-threatening condition can occur if patients are not managed appropriately. It is therefore essential providers and their teams are aware of the signs and symptoms of Sepsis and how it should be managed.
We use these regulations when we review if the practice is safe, effective, responsive, caring and well led when managing sepsis:
- Regulation 9 (Person centred care)
- Regulation 12 (Safety of care and treatment)
- Regulation 17 (Good governance)
We consider these Key Lines of Enquiry (KLOEs):
- S2 Managing risk
- S3 Safe care and treatment
- S4 Medicines management
- R4 Timely access to treatment
- WL4 Governance and management
- WL5 Managing risk and performance
Sepsis signs and symptoms
Spotting deterioration in a patient’s condition can help prevent sepsis. Sepsis claims an estimated 44,000 lives each year (The UK Sepsis Trust).
- muscle pain
- failure to pass urine in the previous 18 hours.
- non-blanching rash and cyanosis of the skin, lips or tongue
- reduced blood pressure
- increased heart rate
- increased respiratory rate
- altered mental state.
Sepsis care: professional guidelines
These clinical tools provide a blueprint for excellent sepsis care:
- Sepsis: recognition, diagnosis and early management (NICE)
- Toolkit for dental practitioners: spotting and managing sepsis (Sepsis Trust)
When we inspect
We will ask staff what systems and processes are in place to manage, follow up and refer patients for specialist care.
- treating patients who:
- are not responding to conventional oral antibiotic treatment
- cannot have their infection managed surgically
- what advice is given to patients, including when they should seek emergency advice or treatment if symptoms worsen or when the dental surgery is closed.
We may ask staff to describe a typical patient journey. For example, if a patient has an acute infection with limited mouth opening, associated with a partially erupted lower wisdom tooth. We may ask to see dental care records to assess how a practice has dealt with previous cases where a patient has presented with severe bacterial infection.
- Last updated:
- 27 January 2021