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Splash on the eye after scaling
Sep 14, 2008

Dear Dr. McGovern, I am a dentist working alone in my practice. After scaling the lower incisors of one of my patients, I rinsed them with water spray and had a splash over my eyes. I was wearing my regular glasses but had forgotten to put my safety goggles on. It felt like if something had touched my eyes anyways. The patient had rinsed her mouth once but there was still some blood there. Should I get tested? Are there any chances of contracting HCV? I am concerned because if I contract it, I have to stop practising Dentistry according to the rules of my local professional body.

Response from Dr. McGovern

The chance of contracting HCV trough mucous membranes is extremely rare. I think you MAY consider baseline testing and follow-up according to the CDC guidelines. The only reason I suggest this is as follows: if you do get infected, the chance of cure in acute infection is greater than 90%. However again...I reassure you that the chance is extremely low - probably less than a percent..

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