WUFT News

Gainesville dental experts urge patients to question dentists’ sterilization

By on March 29th, 2013

After a case in Oklahoma broke this week of a dentist potentially exposing his patients to infectious diseases, Gainesville dental experts urge patients to take note of how their dentists sanitize instruments.

Letters sent to W. Scott Harrington’s patients in Tulsa, Okla., said “practices were discovered which may have exposed patients to infectious material.”

Oklahoma state officials sent letters to about 7,000 patients after a patient was found to be possibly contaminated with hepatitis C, The New York Times reported. Harrington gave up his dental license voluntarily.

Officials found Harrington’s office was not complying with sanitization standards. The Oklahoma Board of Dentistry found rusty instruments and expired medication.

Richelle Janiec, assistant director for clinical operations at the University of Florida College of Dentistry, said she was unfamiliar with the case but she doesn’t think something like this is “a common occurrence.”

She said typically instruments would be sterilized, but she said patients should “definitely be interested in what their [sterilization] practices are.”

“I might ask,” she said, “‘What do you do to prevent the spread of infection?’ … Instruments that are used in the mouth must go through a sterilization process before they are returned to use in practice. That is a must.”

Charmaine Godwin, who teaches in Santa Fe College’s dental program, said it shouldn’t be difficult for dentists to keep their tools sterile.

“Cleanup is really easy,” she said.

Godwin also said dentists should “use disposables as much as possible,” but when they don’t, they should be sure to clean their tools after every patient.

“Do a disinfection, wipe everything down,” Godwin said, “and you’re ready to set up for the next patient.”

Andrew Pantazi wrote this story online.


This entry was posted in Health and Science and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Health and Science

By leppyone (Nine-banded Armadillo) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Armadillos May Be Cause for Rising Leprosy Rates in Florida

Florida health officials are warning people to stay away from armadillos as they may be the cause of recent leprosy cases in the state. There have been nine cases reported in the last seven months, but none have been reported in Alachua.


Breastfeeding

Florida Hospitals Promote Breastfeeding

Hospitals around Florida are working to create initiatives to help mothers and future mothers with breastfeeding.The Florida Health Department connected with hospitals in 15 counties in June to participate in the Healthiest Weight Florida’s Baby Steps to Baby Friendly Initiative.


Tatum bicycles on the Hawthorne Trail with a group of 30 people from Gator Cycle and Body By Boris. Nicole Aedo / WUFT News

Former Addict Finds Purpose In Biking

Andrew Tatum battled multiple addictions with hard drugs and junk food. Now he finds peace and purpose in biking and blogging about his struggles in order to help others.


Nate Willingham focuses on matching three cards based on color, shape or pattern during his Brain Works session on Friday. This card game is used to improve visual perception.

Brain Training Center Treats Learning Disabilities

Brain Works in Gainesville uses auditory training to treat learning disabilities and brain trauma. It’s helped 13-year-old Nate with his dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia, but scientists question how effective the treatment really is.


UF Study Shows Grape Seed Oil Can Reduce Obesity

A new study has found that muscadine grape seed oil can help reduce obesity. Containing a vitamin E derivative, the oil can help prevent the formation of new fat cells.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments