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dental infection

Nov 12, 2001

i saw the dentist two months ago in china. they use the teeth driller to treat me and they clean it only with alcoholic cotton. i am afraid this is not enough to kill HIV virus. But the doctor told me almost 80 percent hospitals in Shanghai, China use this way to clean. i do not have to worry about it. do you think i will be infected by HIV and is it necessary for me to make a blood test?

Response from Mr. Kull

I am not aware of infection control procedures in health care settings in China. The risk of HIV transmission during dental procedures in the U.S. is practically zero. This is, in part, due to widespread infection control practices among dentists in the U.S. Sterilization of drills involves exposing the tools to high temperatures and other safety precautions in the setting. This procedure is highly effective.

I am not aware of the effectiveness of alcohol swabs or other techniques in cleaning dental instruments. If you are wary of the procedures that your dentist follows, try to locate a provider that you can trust. This may take some effort, but can help reduce your anxiety.

For more about infection control in health care settings, see


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