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Pull the other one – examining dental never events

Patient safety specific to dentistry is an area which has seldom been discussed until recently. There is still a lack of consensus as to what constitutes a Patient Safety Incident (PSI) in dentistry. Of course, all practitioners are professionals and they will do their utmost to protect their patients from harm. However, the systems in dentistry have yet to be fully explored in relation to patient safety.

One might ask, what is the worst thing that can happen in the dental chair? Death perhaps – but this occurring due to dental treatment is exceptionally rare, especially since general anaesthesia was banned in dental practices in the 1990s. Deaths in dental practice are mainly due to patients with pre-existing conditions who would have suffered their fatal cardiac event whether they were in the dental practice, on the bus or at home.

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