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Blood exposure second time Please Answer
Jul 26, 2002

I am writing again in hope you will respond. Over a month ago a dentist was operating on me. After the procedure he admitted he had forgotten to change his gloves. Although I did not see blood dripping from his glove, since he put his hand in my mouth there could have been small particles of blood on the blood. during the procedure he went out of the room and checked on other patients and did not change the gloves when returning. The time between him seeing other patients and myself was therefore less than 40 seconds if not less time. What kind of risk am I at? Please advise as I am in desparate need of some feedback.

Response from Mr. Kull

Please, before proceeding with this response, try to review all of the facts. Are you 100% sure that your dentist didn't change his gloves? Anxiety can sometimes distort the actual facts, so don't confuse your impression of things with what actually happened. For example, if you didn't see him change his gloves that doesn't mean that he actually didn't change his gloves.

If you truly believe that your dentist did not engage in appropriate infection control procedures (which includes changing his gloves between each patient) you can contact your local American Dental Association division (to request info, contact the ADA by email) or look at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's website.

If your dentist did not engage in infection control procedures, you could be at risk for infection with pathogens carried by blood or saliva. While the risk for actual transmission to you is quite low (especially HIV, which does not survive in the environment very long), screening as a precaution is advisable. While it is very unlikely that you would be at risk for HIV or Hep B infection, those are two major infections to screen for.

RMK



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