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Root Canal then sick
Jan 21, 2002

Hi Dr. I wanted to ask about the possible chance of getting HIV while at the dentist. 2 years ago I had a root canal done and a few days later a gland behind my ear swelled up and then a few days after that I broke out in a rash. I was tested a month later for HIV and it was negitive. I am married and my husband was tested as well. He was negitive. We do not do drugs or have sex with any one else. I guess that means I am at low risk. Last year my husband had a routine HIV test and it was neg then as well. Now I am 20 weeks pregnant and took an HIV test. I will not get the results until tomorrow. All I can think about is when I got sick after my root canal. This dentist I went to is well known in our area for keeping the office clean. He has even been on the news for it. But I still worry. Am I just being paranoid? Friends tell me I could have gotten sick for a number of reasons, one of being the infected tooth. Please tell me I'm crazy or something! haha. Thanks!! T.

Response from Dr. Reznik

I believe your friends have answered this question for me, as I would expect the swelling of the gland behind your ear was a result of the tooth being infected. As to why you developed a rash a few days later, there are several potential reasons including a reaction to a medicine prescribed, contact with an object that led to an adverse reaction, etc.

In regards to whether or not you can contact HIV from a dental office, the only documented case involved a dentist in Florida several years ago. I strongly believe that it is impossible to contact HIV in the dental setting as long as the office follows universal precautions and sterilizes instruments. I also do not believe an HIV-infected dental practitioner poses any threat of transmission to patients.

If you think about it, it has been over 20 years since the HIV pandemic was discovered in the United States, yet there has only been that one mysterious case. I reiterate, the dental office is a safe environment to receive care and services.

Take care.

DR


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