Document Type


Publication Date



American Dental Education Association

Source Publication

Journal of Dental Education

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

DOI: 10.1002/jdd.12888



The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence, nature, and management of post-surgical emergency after-hours calls in a dental school setting with predoctoral students, graduate students/residents, and faculty providers.


A patient chart review (March 2018–February 2020) for post-surgical calls through the emergency after-hours pager system was conducted at the Marquette University School of Dentistry. The total number of surgical procedures, procedure type, the timing of call, operator experience, concern, and recommendation given during the call were documented.


During the review period, 83 calls (from 75 patients) were recorded after 8,487 surgical procedures (1% of procedures). Patients called 5.4 ± 0.8 days postoperatively. Procedure type affected call prevalence (p = 0.04), with most calls made after extractions (69.9% of all calls; 1% of extractions; 58/5,725), implant placement (6%; 0.9% of implant placements; 5/530) and periodontal plastic surgery (6%; 3.1% of all plastic surgeries; 5/161). The most common concern was pain (72.3%), then swelling (36.1%), bleeding (12%), and infection (9.6%). Operator experience did not affect call prevalence. Recommendations given were next business day follow-up (79.5%), reinforcement of already given postoperative instructions (51.8%), prescription (15.7%), and hospital emergency department (ED) visit (7.2%).


Post-surgical emergency after-hours calls in a dental school setting occur within the first postoperative week and are rare, unrelated to operator experience, typically prompted by pain, and rarely resulting in referral to hospital ED. The use of a pager system is adequate for the management of after-hours emergencies and may reduce self-referrals to the hospital ED.


Accepted version. Journal of Dental Education, Vol. 86, No. 7 (July 2022): 814-822. DOI. © 2022 American Dental Education Association. Used with permission.

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