The dentist is responsible for all patient diagnosis and treatment. Certain circumstances may warrant that you, the Dental Technician, provide emergency dental treatment to a patient. An example might be when one of the following circumstances occur:
You are standing duty Dental Technician watch-There is no dental officer aboard the dental clinic, the hospital, the ship, or the Fleet Marine Force where you are stationed.
A mass casualty situation has occurred - The dental officer may be involved with the treatment of more serious medical injuries.
Always contact a dental officer if an emergency occurs. The dentist will indicate the treatment plan and authorize you to perform treatment. You may provide temporary treatment that provides relief from pain, combats infection, or prevents further damage to the oral structures. Always instruct your patient to come to dental sick call the next day, or make an appointment in the dental specialty for which you have treated him or her. Advise your patient to keep the appointment even if the symptoms of the condition disappear. Follow any command or department instructions on patient care.
Oral conditions are discussed in terms of symptoms and signs. A symptom is what a patient tells you about his or her disease or injury (for example, this person tells you of a toothache or sore gums). A sign is what you observe when you examine the oral structures (for example, bleeding gums, carious lesion, or heavy deposits of plaque or calculus).
Certain emergency guidelines have been established to assist you in providing emergency treatment to your patients. In all these conditions, you should follow the emergency guidelines listed below:
Check the patient's general physical condition.
Question the patient and record any symptoms.
Review patient's health history.
Examine the patient and record signs, including the vital signs. Also check for other injuries if trauma has been found.
Consult with the dentist and report the patient's condition.
Request instructions from the dentist.
Follow the treatment plan exactly.
Record the emergency treatment provided on the Health Record, Dental, SF 603. Use the standard operating procedures (SOP) format discussed in Dental Technician, Volume 2, NAVEDTRA 12573, chapter 2, "Oral Examination."
Advise the patient the treatment provided is temporary and to return for definitive treatment.
An important part of your job as a Dental Technician is the ability to recognize diseases of the tissues of the teeth. We will discuss some of these diseases in the paragraphs that follow as well as give symptoms that will help you recognize these diseases.
Dental caries still occur in the majority of the adult population. The most common cause of dental caries is bacterial plaque, which we discussed in chapter 5. Caries begin in the enamel, appearing as a chalky white spot. If the lesion progresses, it will continue into the dentin and eventually involve the pulp.
The patient may complain that the affected tooth is sensitive to hot and cold (usually cold), sweets, and pressure to biting. Sometimes the pain from anContinue Reading