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Orthodontic Concern...need your advice!
Feb 26, 2005

Hello Dr. Dieterich and Dr. McGovern,

I'm hoping you may be able to give me some advice. I have just made the decision to get braces (I'm 26) and excited about the prospect of having "perfect" teeth. I found out today that a man I know who is Hep B & C positive has also just gotten braces and is going to the same orthodontist as I am. He is not careful about his disease, doesn't cover cuts, etc. and I always feel somewhat nervous being around him. I know that orthodontists must practice universal precautions, but I'm concerned that just one slip up, one dirty glove into a drawer, one contaminated set of elastics that go on the braces, etc. may put me at risk. I'm feeling nervous enough about this that I'm thinking of NOT getting braces. Am I being silly? Would you send your children to this orthodontist? Please advise. Thanks!

Response from Dr. McGovern

All dentists are supposed to follow universal precautions. The reason for this is that not all patients are even aware of their hepatitis or HIV status. That is why universal precautions are taken with all patients so that there is no risk of transmission.

If you have any residual concerns, I would ask your dentist up front as to all the precautions he or she takes so you will have your mind set at ease.

Dr. McGovern

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