Patients arriving daily at the emergency department with dental pain have forced physicians to adapt their medical practice and equipment. From the beginning of this trend, Kip Benko, MD, FACEP, clinical assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and assistant medical director at McCandless EMS, has been teaching residents, faculty, and advanced-practice providers the essentials of dental blocks and facial anesthesia.
Explore This IssueACEP14 Daily News Tuesday: Vol 33 - No10B - October 2014
“Initially when we started, no one was doing these blocks, and as people began to see more and more patients with dental pain in their emergency department, these blocks have become, really, an indispensable part of their practice,” said Dr. Benko.
The dental blocks and facial anesthetic skills he learned from his dentist father during his third-year residency can be used for dental pain and traumatic facial injuries. Dr. Benko’s illustrative examples include dental pain cases, along with a patient with glass embedded in his forehead from a car accident and another with a lip laceration caused by a cat scratch.
First presented 18 years ago at ACEP’s annual meeting in San Diego, Dr. Benko’s presentation, “Fixing Faces Painlessly: Facial Anesthesia, Regional Blocks,” now includes high-definition video and 3-D images of the complicated nerves of the mouth, face, and jaw. “As video and as imagery has improved, it’s been better able to translate into education and translate into teaching the residents and faculty the best way to perform these blocks,” he said.
Fixing Faces Painlessly:
Tuesday, Oct. 28
Skyline Ballroom, Room W375C
The facial anesthesia lecture is a prerequisite for the Emergency Dental Skills Lab, in which Dr. Benko and his University of Pittsburgh colleagues teach 150 conference attendees how to put what they learned from the lecture into practice.
Dr. Benko finds that physicians consider dental patient care very fulfilling: “If [a patient] has a terrible toothache and you do a dental block on them and their pain completely goes away, that patient is just an extremely gratified patient, and it makes the clinician feel very satisfied.”
Francesca Baratta is a freelance writer based in New Jersey.