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Question: As a dental assistant, explain your role that 

Protects Patients thus keeping them safe.

Patients are subject to preventable adverse events in dentistry. What is an adverse event?

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (2011) defines an Adverse Event as an “Unexpected result of dental treatment that causes the prolongation of treatment, any type of morbidity (illness/disease), mortality or any other damage to which the patient should not have been exposed”. Basically, an event that caused physical harm associated with dental treatment.

Examples of adverse events in dentistry:

• unplanned returns after dental treatment,

• bleeding, pain, infection,

• soft or hard tissue damage, nerve injury,

• allergy, toxicity, or foreign body response,

• aspiration or ingestion of foreign body,

• wrong patient, wrong site or wrong procedure, wrong tooth extraction,

• medication errors and other systemic harm,

• allergic reactions to dental materials,

• infection due to contaminated instruments.

Resource: Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) (September 2011), National Safety and Quality Healthds, ACSQHC, Sydney. ISBN: 978-1-921983-04-7