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For decades, the dental profession has provided anesthesia services in office-based, ambulatory settings to alleviate pain and anxiety, ranging from local anesthesia to general anesthesia. However, despite a reported record of safety, complications occasionally occur. Two common contributing factors to general anesthesia and sedation complications are medication errors and adverse drug events. The prevention and early detection of these complications should be of paramount importance to all dental providers who administer or otherwise use anesthesia services. Unfortunately, there is a substantial lack of literature currently available regarding medication errors and adverse drug events involving anesthesia for dentistry. As a result, the profession is forced to look to the medical literature regarding these issues not only to assess the likely severity of the problem but also to develop preventive methods specific for general anesthesia and sedation as practiced within dentistry. Part 1 of this 2-part article will illuminate the problems of medication errors and adverse drug events, primarily as documented within medicine. Part 2 will focus on how these complications affect dentistry, discuss several of the methods that medicine has implemented to manage such problems, and introduce a method for addressing these issues with the dental anesthesia medication safety paradigm.

Keywords: Medication safety; Medication errors; Adverse drug events; Dental anesthesia and sedation; Dental patient safety
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Copyright: © 2019 by the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology
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