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

Hannah Peterson

UF Student Survives Cancer, Goes On To Medical School

After surviving cancer, Gainesville native Hanna Peterson is attending the College of Medicine at UF. She hopes to use her personal experience to help her compassionately deal with patients.


IMG_2752

Parents Use Social Media To Share Experiences With Health Providers

After accusations of a Jacksonville dentist’s mistreatment of patients, some parents have turned to Facebook to voice concerns about dentists who will not allow them to accompany their child during procedures. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry reports there are no set policies mandating access during treatment.


Shane Owens

Woman Launches Facebook Page For Those Facing Medical Difficulties

Carly Strange was born with her intestines outside her body. To help others not feel alone, she created the Facebook page “The Many Faces of a Survivor.”


HIV Bill Establishes New Patient Screening Routine

Florida House Bill 321 is bringing HIV testing out of the shadows.  Signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott on June 10 and put into effect on July 1, HB 321 streamlines the process of HIV testing in medical settings and establishes it […]


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.


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