Dental emergencies in public health services: what is the role of the Dental Surgeon?

Leonardo Essado Rios, Maria Goretti Queiroz


OBJECTIVE: To assess the opinions of Brazilian dental surgeons (DS) about their roles in Public Emergency Dental Services (PEDS).
METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted with an intentional sample of 44 DS who worked at the PEDS in a large municipality in the central-western region of Brazil, in 2013. To collect data we designed, pretested and applied a self-administered questionnaire with Likert scale assertions about the DS duties, referral of patients and execution of dental procedures in PEDS. Post-hoc tests revealed an instrument’s reliability of 91%.
RESULTS: As their main duty, DS pointed out providing relief to patients’ complaints in cases of dental pain and trauma. Regarding referral of patients, they considered typically that they should refer to services at a higher complexity level those patients exhibiting infections in advanced stages under risk of disseminations. Most of them disagreed with performing dental restorations in emergency consultations, while the majority stated that they should mainly perform intraoral abscesses drainage, alveolitis and haemorrhage treatment.
CONCLUSION: To provide pain and trauma relief to patients was pointed out by DS as their key role in PEDS, as well as to refer at-risk patients to high-level complexity services and to perform procedures aimed at solving emergency situations, instead of providing restorative treatment to patients.


Public Health Dentistry; Dental Health Services; Emergencies; Public health policy; Dental Care

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