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National Checklist Day and Why You Should Celebrate It at your Dental Practice

There probably won’t be fireworks, a parade and family BBQs for National Checklist Day on October 30th but to those in the health industry it should be celebrated. The day marks one of the most significant events in aviation history, the development of the preflight checklist but today, checklists are used by all sorts of industries.

Checklists in the medical field are extremely important to make sure that you have prepared properly to manage a medical crisis and to document your preparation should you ever need it for a regulatory review or legal proceeding. If ever challenged, having completed this checklist will help provide proof of your due-diligence and substantiation of medical emergency preparedness. And just as importantly, you’ll be able to sleep well at night knowing that you could save lives.

Unfortunately, many doctors, dentists and anesthesiologistsrun their practices without the use of checklists. In fact, a two-minute surgical safety checklist created for the World Health Organization which when used decreased surgical complications by more than 30%, 20% of the surgeons who were requested to use it refused to do so, stating they didn’t need it or think it was useful. However, 94% of those same surgeons wanted the checklist to be used if they were having surgery.

This results in, according to the ADA, nearly 3000 life threatening

emergencies in dental offices every year. Suddenly, you can go from “career defining” to “career ending” in a matter of minutes.

But what if you are using third party contractors in your dental office? Or what if you are the contractor in another practice?

Many states have laws where the treating dentist is considered the “captain of the ship”. Whatever happens falls on his/her shoulders regardless of the contractual relationship between the two professional entities. In the 1990s, the practice of providing third party anesthesia and sedation in dental offices became more common. So, the Committee on Anesthesia and Sedation of the AAPD developed the first set of guidelines assisting in defining the relationship between the providers. This aids the practitioner in assessing personnel, their qualifications, insurance, facilities, documentation, and quality assurance mechanisms necessary to provide optimal and responsible patient care regardless of contractual ties.1

Guidelines are then translated into checklists, and checklists are the foundation of safe practice.

We at AAFDO provide dental offices with every checklist you need as well as training to go along with them. These have all been developed by our team of top-notch professionals with real world experience. Visit us at to learn more and keep your patients and your practice safe.


1. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Use of anesthesia providers in the administration of office-based deep sedation/general anesthesia to the Pediatric Dental Patient. The Reference Manual of Pediatric Dentistry. Chicago, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry; 2020:358-61.


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