There is no denial that your oral health, gums, and teeth are an integral part of your overall health, which is why so many Americans seek dental treatments and spend billions of dollars on dental care every year. But can the risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C or other dangerous viruses or infection in the dentist’s office outweigh the importance of undergoing dental treatments?
Not at all. Just because you can be exposed to HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and other dangerous viruses does not mean that you should disregard your oral health and never see your dentist again. All we are trying to say is that given the potentially hazardous exposure to dangerous viruses in the dentist’s office, you need to take certain precautions when visiting your dentist.
And our Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice attorney from Vladimir Tsirkin & Associates. P.A., is going to explain what you can do to minimize the risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis or other viruses and infections during a dental treatment – or any other medical treatment, for that matter.
Not long ago, you may have heard about negligence on the part of a dental clinic that may have exposed several patients to HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C during dental treatments.
In the outrageous case involving the Nova Southeastern University orthodontic clinic, failure to properly sterilize equipment exposed more than a thousand patients to several dangerous viruses during dental treatments. The NSU issued a warning to its patients in late November saying that several of its dentists in training had failed to properly sterilize dental equipment during dental procedures.
“How did this happen?” you might be wondering. Our Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice attorney explains that the dentists in training cleaned the dental equipment with surface disinfectant wipes instead of following the required protocol of cleaning the equipment with a heat sterilization process.
Using the surface disinfectant wipes may not have removed all viruses and infection from the dental tools, which means the clinic’s patients may have been exposed to dangerous viruses when receiving dental care. In case you are wondering, a staggering more than 1,150 patients were potentially exposed to HIV, hepatitis B and C and other dangerous viruses due to the medical malpractice committed by the dentists in training.
In its statement, the clinic said it would cover patient costs for doctor visits and blood screenings to ensure that the patients have not contracted HIV, hepatitis, or other viruses or infection.
You never know whether or not your dentist properly sterilizes dental equipment and whether he or she follows the required protocol when cleaning the instruments before each procedure, which is why our medical malpractice lawyer in Fort Lauderdale advises you to avoid dental care as much as you can when you are not 100 percent sure that your dentist properly sterilizes dental equipment.
When receiving dental care in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in Florida, make sure that your dentist uses a new disposable syringe and needle from a sealed package for injections of local anesthetic. If he or she doesn’t, consider it a red flag. Also, make sure your dentist wears new gloves taken from a sealed package in front of you before putting his or her hand into your mouth.
It may also be a good idea to ask your dentist how he or she sterilizes dental equipment before a dental treatment. Dental tools that might get blood on them must be autoclaved or boiled or be sterilized with a heat sterilization process. In fact, you do have a right to ask the dentist to see it done in front of you before the dental procedure.
These are the precautions you should take in order to protect yourself from HIV, hepatitis and other viruses when receiving dental care in Florida. Consult with our medical malpractice attorney in Fort Lauderdale from Vladimir Tsirkin & Associates, P.A., to discuss your situation. Call our offices at 954-687-9787 for a free case evaluation.