Preventing Dental Damage During Surgical Procedures

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According to a recent study, dental damage claims are some of the most common in hospital operating room and ambulatory surgery center settings. For hospital operating rooms, 19.6 percent of injury claims were for dental damage, and the number jumps to 25.2 percent for ambulatory surgery centers. This prevalence of dental damage is significant, but there’s an easy solution for this problem which can reduce liability on doctors and their practices:  bite blocks.


Learning From Others: A Case Report

Diana Roloff, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), shared a case report regarding dental damage in a patient receiving a cardioversion procedure. This 60-year-old patient arrived at the emergency room suffering from a highly irregular heartbeat, and he was immediately prepped for synchronized cardioversion, to be performed under anesthesia. If you’re not familiar with this procedure, synchronized cardioversion requires a low energy shock delivered to a patient’s heart in order to restore a normal rhythm. For this particular patient, two shocks with increasing joules of monophasic energy restored his normal heartbeat. Although the patient was discharged later that day and everything seemed to be resolved, the patient contacted the hospital several months later about a major complication: several fractured and broken teeth that occurred during the procedure. At the time this procedure was performed, it wasn’t common practice to use some sort of bite block to protect patients from damage to their teeth, tongue, and lips. Because no bite block was used for this patient, the multiple shocks delivered to his heart caused him to bite down with great force and consequently damage his teeth. 


As shown in this case, dental damage can and does occur during cardioversion procedures. All hospitals and healthcare practices bear liability in cases like these, and they are required to pay for insurance claims for patients that experience dental and/or tongue damage. Insurance claims like these can be expensive, but they are easily preventable in many cases by utilizing a bite block during procedures requiring anesthesia. Although it’s possible to use a rolled-up piece of gauze as a makeshift bite block, health providers should consider using a pre-formed, commercially available, individually packaged bite block, such as Richmond Dental and Medical’s Soft BiteBlock®. Our patented Soft Bite Blocks  are latex-free, made in the USA, and and engineered to withstand consistent bite pressure on the back molars. The Soft BiteBlock® is an easy solution for a costly problem. Utilizing Soft BiteBlocks can significantly reduce the number of oral damage claims, which will save your practice money, time, and countless headaches. As mentioned previously, dental damage claims account for approximately 19.6 to 25.2 percent of total claims from surgeries, which is a significant portion. Perhaps even more importantly, they help patients avoid the painful damage to their teeth, tongues, and lips.


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If you have any questions or would like to place an order for Richmond Soft BiteBlock®, please contact us and we would be happy to assist!

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