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Broken Cavitron Tip during procedure

I was scaling a SRP patient when the majority of my cavitron tip broke off. I suctioned around the area and checked around the tongue etc and did not see anything. The patient did not cough gag or show any expression of it going back towards his throat. I checked the gum tissue without finding anything. I was assuming my suction got it or it flew outside the mouth. I changed the cavitron tip. I did not say anything to the patient -I know bad call but I honestly was not thinking. This is the first time this has ever happened and I’m a new grad and I guess I just wasn’t thinking. What do I do? I spoke to my dr and OM already.

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1 Answer

Oh no! In this situation, the first thing I would do is call the patient and inform them of what happened. The sooner the better. Don’t forget to chart the incident and actions taken as well. You did the right thing by informing your doctor and OM.
In the future, if this were to happen again, make sure you inform the patient right then. I would make every attempt to find the broken tip as well. Look in the patient’s mouth, check your trap, if it’s not there, take a radiograph of the area you think it was lost in. If you believed it was aspirated, the patient would need to go to the doctor and have a chest X-ray. It’s a good idea to have cotton pliers with each of your set-ups for quick retrieval if this happens again.
Accidents happen, but a way to avoid this is not to use ultrasonic inserts (or hand instruments) that are past their prime. Inserts come with a card to measure when they are worn out, so make sure to keep the card and check them every so often.
Hopefully this won’t happen again, but if it does, consider this a learning experience and now you are prepared with the steps of what to do.

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