Please follow these protocols whenever you treat an emergency:
- Interview the patient as to the problem to include all details of the situation.
- Take at least one radiograph. If the emergent condition may impact on other areas of the mouth, take all appropriate radiographs. It is better to take more than fewer films. A caveat – NEVER MAKE A DIAGNOSIS AND RENDER TREATMENT WITHOUT BENEFIT OF A RADIOGRAPH. If you are unable to take a radiograph due to the child’s behavior, note this in the patient record and note this when communicating with the parent or guardian. Treatment should be restricted to reversible palliative care in the event a radiograph cannot be taken.
- Provide a thorough clinical assessment. For teeth related problems, please assess pulp vitality, change in mobility, percussion, and palpation of the vestibule.
- If possible, make a diagnosis. If unable to take a radiograph, provide a tentative diagnosis based on the clinical impression.
- Provide the appropriate treatment for the purpose of palliating the condition. It is not necessary to provide definitive care unless time is available. If a referral to a dentist or physician is required, make this referral and ensure that all appropriate follow-up activities are fulfilled.
- It is important to communicate with the parent or guardian. If the parent/guardian is present, discuss the problem and planned treatment with that person prior to the provision of treatment. If the parent/guardian is not present, provide the needed treatment and communicate to the parent/guardian through a written communication noting the problem, 5/30/07
- Write the progress note to include the chief complaint, the patient’s history, clinical findings, radiographic findings, diagnosis (or clinical impression), and treatment rendered. Also note recommended follow-up care required.