Sedation Providers, How Prepared Are You for a Dental Board Inspection?

Earn CE credits with Dr. Steve Yun, who discusses how preparation for dental board inspections ensures your practice is ready for any situation, including emergencies.

By Genni Burkhart

Dr. Steven Yun

Dental board inspections are routine evaluations by qualified professionals to ensure dentists adhere to proper protocols and safety standards. These inspections assess various factors, including the use of airway equipment, the level of sedation provided, and the overall safety and preparedness of the dental practice.

Readiness for these inspections ensures dentists meet the required safety and procedural standards to provide patients with the safest dental sedation possible.

Dr. Steve Yun, a board-certified physician, anesthesiologist, and expert consultant for the Dental Board of California, reviews how sedation dentists can prepare for a dental board inspection.

We will review highlights from Dr. Yun’s lecture on this topic, which is included in DOCS Education’s Home Study.

First, Equipment Preparation

One of the first things to do in preparation for a dental board inspection is to prepare and inspect your equipment, including, but not limited to:

  • Contingency planning.
  • AED (Automated External Defibrillator).
  • Checking battery life and expiration dates for medical equipment.
  • Ensuring equipment is positioned correctly for patient safety during sedation and in emergencies. 
  • Safety code compliance.
  • Oxygen and nitrous oxide delivery system, including nasal hood or cannula.

While airway equipment is remote, sedation is a continuum, and it's easy for patients to progress from light to deep sedation. The dental board inspector will also want you to be prepared for this.

Oxygen and Airway Equipment

Every operatory should have an emergency oxygen cylinder, with at least one full cylinder and a failsafe system to prevent the formation of hypoxic nitrous oxide mixtures.

This step is crucial in case of emergencies, as a hypoxic nitrous oxide mixture can cause oxygen deprivation and potential harm. By having an emergency oxygen cylinder and a failsafe system in place, dental clinics can ensure that oxygen is readily available for patients in case of any unforeseen circumstances, ensuring their safety and well-being.

Monitoring and Documentation

Sedation monitoring and documentation includes, but is not limited to:

  • Keeping a list of emergency telephone numbers.
  • Monitoring vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate, and rhythm.
  • Monitoring respiratory status through verbal responsiveness.
  • Continuously monitor temperature and assist with patient transport.

Monitoring and documenting vital signs and symptoms are critical because they allow the dental team to accurately assess the patient's health status and make informed decisions about their care. It helps to identify any changes or abnormalities in the patient's condition that may require intervention or adjustments in their treatment plan.

Additionally, documentation provides a clear record of patient care and allows continuity of care between healthcare professionals, which dental board inspectors will want to see. Keep in mind, though, that each state has its own regulations on monitoring and recordkeeping, so it's important to be aware of your state’s requirements.

Facility Considerations

Considerations for a dental operatory should accommodate patients of different sizes, ensure ample room in the operatory for movement, provide flexible procedure chairs for airway maintenance and emergency positioning, and have contingency plans for elevator failures in multilevel facilities. These considerations are crucial to ensure that the facility operates smoothly and that patients are protected.

Medication Safety Protocols

A review of maintained records for DEA-compliant drugs will be of interest to inspectors. It is essential to emphasize the significance of maintaining accurate and up-to-date records for DEA-compliant drugs, as inspectors closely monitor these records. Ensuring compliance and avoiding discrepancies is crucial to mitigate potential risks and legal issues associated with the handling of these drugs.

Medication safety protocols involve several vital points to ensure patient safety. These protocols include maintaining a DEA-compliant drug logbook to track controlled substances, secure storage methods to prevent theft or misuse, and proper documentation of multi-dose vial integrity.

Additionally, medication safety protocols emphasize precautions against medication errors, such as look-alike and sound-alike drug identification and clear labeling of similar-looking vials to prevent mix-ups. Overall, these protocols aim to minimize risks and ensure patient safety in the administration and management of medications.

Demonstrate Preparation for Respiratory Complications

Respiratory complications in a dental setting primarily concern airway obstructions, bronchospasm, and laryngeal spasm, among other conditions. These complications can arise during sedation procedures requiring immediate and precise intervention.

During a dental board inspection, it is essential to demonstrate staff preparation for respiratory complications. This should include validation of proper training on airway management, bronchospasm treatment, and emergency procedures such as CPR. Additionally, the inspection can consist of the availability of necessary equipment, such as oxygen tanks and epinephrine auto-injectors, to ensure the readiness of the practice to handle respiratory complications and emergencies effectively.

Practice Makes Perfect

To effectively manage airway emergencies and prepare for dental board inspections, proactive preparation helps establish a safety-oriented culture. As a result of being prepared, risks are significantly reduced, and patient outcomes are improved.

A simple piece of paper and proper documentation can save a life. As humans, we are prone to failure. To counter this, have one of your employees periodically practice reading basic emergency protocols out loud. Visual aids should also be used for practice sessions and readily available for inspections and emergencies.

Preparation is the key to success during dental board inspections. Dental teams can maximize the safety of themselves and their patients by using the tools and techniques discussed to pass dental board inspections and prepare for emergencies.

To watch this complete course, click here. DOCS Members and Trial Members can watch for free and earn 2 CE hours.

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Author: With over 14 years as a published journalist, editor, and writer Genni Burkhart's career has spanned politics, healthcare, law, business finance, technology, and news. She resides in Northern Colorado, where she works as the Editor in Chief of the Incisor at DOCS Education.

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