Hide This

FREEHER HealthToolkit

HER Health Toolkit

Sign up for EmpowHER updates and you'll receive our
FREE HER Health Toolkit

Dental & Oral Health

Get Email Updates

Dental & Oral Health Guide

Christine Jeffries

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.

ASK

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!

How sanitary is your dentist's office?

By FoxNews HERWriter
 
Rate This
How sanitary is your dentist's office? 0 5
Sanitation at the dentist
Yuri Tuchkov/PhotoSpin

Written By Dr. Marc Siegel for Fox News

The shocking news that thousands of patients who visited Dr. Scott Harrington’s Oklahoma oral surgery practice since 2007 may have been exposed to hepatitis B, C, and HIV as well as unsanitary and non-sterile conditions, is a wake-up call for doctors, patients, and especially health departments everywhere.

This is not to say that dental practices everywhere fall into the same pattern of inadequately sterilized equipment, reused needles, expired medications, or dental assistants administering intravenous medication without a doctor present.

But what lengths are the state of Oklahoma and other states going to in order to make sure that these gross violations and gross mistreatments aren’t taking place in more than just one dentist’s office?

The greatest concern is viral hepatitis. According to the CDC, more than 4 million Americans are chronically infected and most don’t know it.

The greatest risk from contaminated equipment and reusing needles is from hepatitis B. Despite the fact that 65 percent of health care workers are now vaccinated against hepatitis B (with a rate of effectiveness that approaches 95 percent), nevertheless, 12,000 health care workers are still infected every year and a third of them go on to develop a clinical illness.

After being stuck by a needle contaminated by hepatitis B, close to 30 percent developed the disease. There have been several hundred reported cases of patients who have developed hepatitis B after being exposed to contaminated medical products or stuck by a contaminated needle.

The risk is much lower for hepatitis C, despite the fact that there is no protective vaccine, with a recent study showing that only 0.5- 3% of health care workers developed the disease after being stuck by a contaminated needle.

But despite the fact that hepatitis C is much more difficult to get than hepatitis B from a single blood exposure, worldwide contamination from unsafe injections and the use of contaminated medical equipment are a primary reason for the virus reaching epidemic proportions.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Improved

1879 Health

Changed

774 Lives

Saved

642 Lives
9 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

Do you see a dentist regularly?:
View Results