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How dental hygienists can prevent tragedy from happening in the dental practice


Photo of an ambulence in motion

“We don’t want what happened in Hawaii to happen again.”


With these words, Anastasia Turchetta, RDH, summarized what so many dental practitioners felt after hearing about a 3-year-old girl in Hawaii who died after falling into a coma while she was heavily sedated with different drugs during a dental procedure. The death of Finley Puleo Boyle sent shockwaves through not only the dental industry, but also the minds of your patients especially those who are parents.


Turchetta sat down with me to talk about the tragedy and what dental hygienists should know about it and learn from it. Among the points she makes in the video interview below are:


** Hygienists should be prepared for questions about the safety of various dental procedures, especially from parents of young children.


** Hygienists should recognize that they are the first point of contact in the dental practice for both parents and their kids who are patients. Recognize that and nurture that relationship so trust is built.


** Hygienists should know the health history of their patients. Take your time and take it seriously.


** If the parent of a pediatric patient is anxious, the child will feed off that negative energy. Build a relationship built on trust.


** In terms of treating children with special needs, the hygienists should have the tools needed to feel comfortable treating that patient. You should also know that your practice is truly equipped to properly treat that child. If that’s not the case, know where you can refer those patients.


** If your office isn’t prepared to handle emergencies, it should be. We all know where the emergency exits are when we go to a movie or stay at a hotel. It’s part of the emergency plan. Do you know your office’s emergency plan? It has to be more than just calling 911.


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