Sepsis: the applicability to dental care professionals

Key Points

  • Highlights that sepsis may be seen in dental practice, and is a potentially preventable condition if there is awareness of the warning signs and the need for referral for rapid treatment.

  • Suggests the key message is to stop and think, could this be sepsis in someone who presents with signs or symptoms that indicate possible infection.

  • Proposes that dentists and dental care professionals should think about sepsis, recognise what sepsis might look like, be aware of the pathognomonic warning signs of sepsis, the importance of rapid treatment, be able to advise their patients about sepsis and raise the profile of sepsis.


This discussion paper gives an overview of current understanding around sepsis with the aim of raising awareness. NICE requires all healthcare professionals, including dental care professionals to be trained in identifying people who may have sepsis. Enhancing knowledge about sepsis will help the dental team to educate their patients about sepsis, recognise the pathognomonic warning signs and the need for rapid treatment. This paper describes the multiple missed opportunities to diagnose sepsis in a baby and it is hoped the impact of reading this from the mother's perspective will reduce the risk of this happening again.

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Correspondence to C. Coelho.

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Coelho, C., Mead, M. Sepsis: the applicability to dental care professionals. Br Dent J 225, 1078–1081 (2018).

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