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Q. What are the modes of transmission of infection in a dental office?

Answered by
Dr. Krishna Swaroop Achanta
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Aug 29, 2022

Hi doctor,

Recently we visited a dentist nearby, and after examination, I had a dental cleaning or scaling done, but I am not sure whether the dentist used a new scaling tip. Am I at risk of getting infected with diseases? Kindly clarify.

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Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

I read your query and can understand your concern.

Ideally, in the dental clinic, there should be very strict infection control to stop the spread of infectious diseases. Usually, any doctor would have prearranged their instruments or tips before a patient walks into the clinic, so you may as well clarify your doubt with the doctor. I hardly think such malpractice exists now.

What you can do meanwhile is, if you feel there is a risk of infection, please follow the strategies mentioned below.

1. Scrub your palms and fingers thoroughly in and out. Wash your hands for five minutes, preferably with soap and running cold water.

2. Disinfect and put the clothes you had worn to the clinic for laundry and wash.

3. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water five to six times a day for a week. You can also use a mouthwash like Chlorhexidine twice daily regularly to prevent the risk of any oral infections.

4. If you notice upper respiratory tract infection or sorethroat-like symptoms, start gargling with lukewarm salt water till the throat region multiple times a day so that any disease risk is controlled.

Lastly, I would tell you that, usually, dental sterilization is a very strict practice in our country, so malpractice would not typically exist.

Also, if you follow these basic steps I mentioned, the risk of any potential infection will be prevented.

Thank you and take care.

Hello doctor,

Thank you for the reply.

Do dental scaling tips carry blood?

#

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I read your query and can understand your concern.

No, if the tip is sterilized ideally or even disinfected usually, it will not carry any traces of blood. Do not worry. Follow all the precautions I said, especially oral hygiene maintenance with mouthwash and salt water rinsing is very important.

Thank you and take care.

Hello doctor,

Thank you for the reply.

What would be the case if the dentist had missed sterilizing or disinfecting the scaler tip? Kindly clarify, doctor.

#

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I read your query and can understand your concern.

If the dentist fails to sterilize or disinfect, the risk of spreading upper respiratory tract problems or infections will be higher. That is why I suggested following the precautions. Do not overthink about other diseases that can be transmitted because once you practice appropriate personal hygiene, disinfection, and oral hygiene you will be unlikely to be infected. I hope this helps.

Thank you and take care.

Hello doctor,

Thank you for the reply.

Is there any possibility of getting hepatitis B, C, or HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)? Kindly clarify.

#

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I read your query and can understand your concern.

No, not really through the scaler tip as such. The risk of transmission for these diseases like HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) or hepatitis is with infected needles. So do not overthink. If you still have doubts, you can get source testing done for all these normal blood tests that a physician will recommend in the clinic after you explain to them why you need the blood test. Then, you can be assured if the results are negative for HIV(human immunodeficiency virus) and hepatitis B.

I can summarise that an infected scaler tip cannot cause such infections. Only infected needles or syringes can.

Thank you and take care.


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