The Benefit of Implementing Planned Time-Outs

By William J. Moorhead, D.M.D.

To some people, “time-out” implies “sporting event.” To others, it means “parenting strategy.”

Time-outs have been used in medicine for several years. In surgery with the surgical team, time-outs verify such areas as:

  • Patient’s name
  • Date of birth
  • Consent form had been signed
  • Drug allergies
  • The kind of surgery being performed

In our practice, we use time-outs as a planned pause before the start of treatment to focus on safety and patient communication.

Planned Time-Outs in Dentistry
Fortunately, in dentistry we don’t often deal with the life-or-death issues that hospitals face. But mistakes cost us time, add to our stress and sometimes cause us to achieve less-than-desired results.

That’s where the time-out comes in.

The most natural time for a time-out for our procedures is before someone picks up a needle for an injection, including local anesthesia or the start of an IV sedation.

Here’s an example of the time-out I recommend before local anesthesia.

Talk over time-outs at your next team training session. And if you come see my presentation at the Summit, you will learn more reasons why time-outs are a great tool to implement in your practice. Plus, I would love to hear your ideas on this topic.

If you haven’t already registered for the Summit, I am pleased to offer you some incentive to do it today. Here’s $200 off your registration!  Just enter code BLOG when you register.

I can’t wait to see you in November at the Summit in Orlando.

Author: Carestream Dental Blog Administrator

Carestream Dental provides industry-leading imaging, CAD/CAM, software and practice management solutions for dental and oral health professionals. With more than 100 years of industry experience, Carestream Dental products are used by seven out of 10 practitioners globally and deliver more precise diagnoses, improved workflows and superior patient care. For more information visit