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Safety Awareness Campaign reminds members to check equipment, supplies

As time falls back an hour this fall, dentists are encouraged to check more than their watches and the clocks in their dental offices.

The ADA's Safety Awareness Campaign, for a second year, is back to prompt members to regularly inspect their equipment and supplies.

"Safety for our patients and the entire office team is of paramount concern so instituting a system to regularly inspect equipment and supplies is very important," said Dr. Jade Miller, chair-elect of the Council on Dental Education and Licensure's Committee on Anesthesiology.

While some equipment in dental offices is regularly inspected because of a state or federal regulatory mandate, he said, other supplies and other dental equipment should also be routinely checked.

Along with the councils on Communications, Dental Practice, Membership and Scientific Affairs, CDEL developed a safety checklist for dental teams to ensure equipment is properly working, along with life-saving emergency medications and devices.

The one-page checklist targets a number of areas for safety checks, including automated external defibrillators, X-ray equipment, dental unit waterlines, sterilization equipment, amalgam recovery protocols, expiration dates for medications in medical emergency and drug kits and nitrous oxide equipment.

"Much like a pilot does prior to every flight, we created a system, primarily a check list to go through twice a year," Dr. Miller said. Dentists are also encouraged to perform the safety checks in the spring, when daylight saving time begins.

Download a copy of the Safety Checklist for Dental Equipment online. Daylight saving time ends Nov. 3.