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A Tale of Two Hygienists Podcast

Jul 31, 2019

Continuing our series on dental-adjacent issues, we’re tackling a scenario that every dental hygienist should be prepared for, however unlikely it may be: your patient having a medical emergency under your care. It’s easy to fret over the thought of seizure or allergic reaction happening in your own office, but with some knowledge and training you’ll know how to handle any situation promptly and professionally.

Susannah Trammell is a paramedic, flight medic, “all around badass,” and one of Michelle’s best friends to boot. She has hands-on experience with dealing with a wide variety of medical emergencies and in the course of her casual but educational chat with Michelle she explains how you can deal with any emergency without that may pop up when a patient is in your chair.

For this episode, Susannah gives you the low down on what steps you need to take if a patient passes out under your care, discusses what should be in your dental office’s medical emergency kit, and gives you a refresher on CPR.


Interview starts: 11:41

- Susannah lays out her experience working as a medic in different capacities.

- Looking back on the occasions when Michelle had to send patients to the hospital!

- What information paramedics need when tending to patients in dental offices (and most places, for that matter).

- Reviewing the ASA Physical Status Classification System.

- What you should do if a patient passes out in your chair.

- The different kinds of stimuli paramedics use to test alertness.

- Distinguishing between allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock, and how to treat each.

- What you should include in and how you should maintain a medical emergency kit.

- Defining hypoglycemia and what we can do for the patients that have it.

- The wrong way to administer oral glucose.

- Why a wooden spoon should NOT be used when a patient goes into seizure.

- What you can do to prevent or deal with airway collapse or obstruction.

- Dealing with chest problems, strokes, and other serious ailments where you might need to administer medication.

- A quick refresher on CPR basics for those worried that they might actually need to do it but have no recent practice.

- Michelle’s experience accidentally dropping an object down a patient’s throat



“If you don’t feel a pulse and you don’t see breathing just go ahead and start CPR.”

“You can have an allergic reaction but it not necessarily be anaphylaxis.”

“Definitely check their blood pressure before you give them another dose.”

“When there’s an emergency going on, people love to be told what to do. They need a job, so give them a job.”


American Dental Association -

Thank you to Paradise Dental Technologies aka PDT for providing sponsorship for this episodes CE credits!

THIS EPISODE COUNTS FOR CE! - but read the disclaimer below as it might not count for your state.

 Go here to take the test and get your CE credit!

Approved Pace Program Provider FAGD/MAGD Credit Approval Does Not Imply Acceptance By A State Or Provincial Board of Dentistry Or AGD Endorsement. 1/1/18- 12/31/19 Provider #373236

Be sure to thank the sponsor for CE for this episode by heading over to and picking up a new instrument or telling them thank you in person at one of the conferences!

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