Damage to teeth is the most common complaint against anaesthetists. A dental history and oral examination are important before anaesthesia. Pre-existing dental pathology or the presence of prostheses makes damage more likely but sound teeth may be affected. The maxillary central incisors are most at risk. Certain diseases and drugs should alert anaesthetists to increased likelihood of dental pathology. The flange of the Macintosh blade appears responsible for much damage and alternative equipment or techniques of endotracheal intubation should be considered, particularly when risk factors are present. Manoeuvres to protect teeth must not impact adversely on airway management. Custom mouthguards can be useful. A management plan can help control losses if damage does occur. Patients should be warned about the possibility of dental trauma.
- ANAESTHESIA: endotracheal intubation, complications, adverse outcomes, dental trauma
- negligence, risk, malpractice