The horrific news in our area the past several days has been one of a local dentist and oral surgeon who has possibly exposed more than 7000 of his patients to infectious diseases. (Read more here ~ Dental Practice via N2 Owasso. ) Imagine getting THAT letter in the mail! The health department opened on Saturday to begin testing these patients. Folks were lined up, anxious to find out their outcomes.
This man practiced in our town. This says to me, it could happen anywhere, to anyone. I struggle wrapping my brain around how a professional could allow this. My next thought, “I am going to be having a visit with our dentist before my next visit.” I have shared before about my anxiety issues with the dentist. (Read “Puppy Anxiety“.) I find my thoughts running wild on how we simply “spin the wheel” in our lives, trusting so-called professionals, health and otherwise, that we really have no reason to trust!
And then as if he read my mind, I received this reassuring e-mail yesterday from our dentist.
“Recently, a Tulsa area dentist was cited with putting patients at risk of infection with hepatitis by failing to follow proper infection control practices. The Oklahoma Dental Association is closely monitoring the situation.
Let me describe just a few of the things that we do in our practice in terms of infection control.
All dental staff involved in patient care scrub their hands before each and every patient and use appropriate protective garb such as gloves, masks, gowns and eye wear.
- A new set of gloves and masks are used for each patient.
- Before you enter the examining room, all surfaces, such as the dental chair, instrument tray, dental light, drawer handles and counter-tops, have been cleaned and decontaminated.
- Non-disposable dental instruments are cleaned and sterilized between patients. In our office we sterilize instruments using ( an autoclave which involves steam under pressure. If you wish, you could offer for us to show you our sterilization or set-up area).
- Disposable items like needles or gauze are placed in special bags or containers for special, monitored disposal.
There’s no excuse for what this dental office did. It is you right as a patient to ask any healthcare provider to explain their practices to you.
Your well-being is important to me and my staff, which is why we follow stringent infection control procedures and comply with all state regulations for the protection of our patients.”
I’m thinking they must have already received numerous phone calls and cancellations?
But I am sharing this with you friends, as a reminder to both you and I to speak up! Ask questions! Be “that person”. If it offends them, maybe that’s your answer for moving on to a practice that will look out for your well-being. Obviously, we can never be too careful. Afterall, our lives are in their hands and perhaps we need to remind them of that.