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HIV Life >> Living With HIV

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Going to the dentist....ouch!!!
      #196359 - 06/16/06 12:01 PM

I had to make my first routine dentist appt since I found out I was HIV pos. I asked my HIV provider if I should disclose my status to my dentist and his hygenist who cleans my teeth and does most of the work. She said no, that there has been no proven transmission of HIV from a pt to a dental provider and that they should be using universal precautions which they do. That I had no ethical obligation to disclose unless I wanted to.

I agonized over this, because the hygenist is a great gal but it's surpising how uniformed and naturally fearful people can be about HIV. It's unrealistic to expect everyone to be as informed as we are about our own disease.

I ended up saying nothing, my gums bled a little as they usually do with teeth cleaning, and universal precautions were definitely adhered to by both the hygenist and the dentist.

What have other HIV pos folk's experience with going to the dentist?

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ny10001
Grand Master

Reged: 07/08/05
Posts: 199
Loc: New York
Re: Going to the dentist....ouch!!! new
      #196369 - 06/16/06 01:16 PM

Some dentists will ask in their questionnaires. Some don't. You doctor is technically right, however, that as quality professionals, they ought to be employing universal precautions for HIV and any other blood born illness. After all, many people who are poz don't even know it. Additionally, viral hepatits, etc.... could be transmitted via the blood, so HIV isn't the only disease a dentist or hygenist would have to worry about.

The bottom line, if you feel compelled to disclose, fine, but your dentist ought to be assuming everyone is poz in order to make sure that he/she employs safe professional practices.

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Going to the dentist....ouch!!! new
      #196371 - 06/16/06 01:27 PM

You are right, Hepatitis B can certainly be transmitted through blood.
I've been going to this dentist for so long that I just show up for my appointment, no reason to re fill out a questionaire. But you raise an interesting point. Is one obligated to answer the HIV questions in the affirmative? Should the question even be asked? Will the "wrong" answer lead to the dentist and staff finding some excuse to defer treatment.

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ny10001
Grand Master

Reged: 07/08/05
Posts: 199
Loc: New York
Re: Going to the dentist....ouch!!! new
      #196374 - 06/16/06 01:37 PM

Well, I'm not a fan of lying, so I guess if the question is asked, I would answer yes, but if HIV was the only disease on the list, I'd stop and find a new dentist. HIV, Hep A, Hep B, Hep C, some bacterial infections, etc....they're all blood born (and Hep C has fewer treatment options than HIV). If the dentist is focusing ONLY on HIV, I'd question their professionalism. The only argument I could think of for a dentist knowing about HIV would be to watch for signs of infections that are more likely for HIV positive individuals. Candida (thrush), for example, can affect some HIV patients (although it's NOT limited to HIV + individuals only).

As to your question of whether or not they may make excuses not to treat you....well, that would indicate a low level of education on their part. In that case...would you really want them in your mouth anyway?

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Going to the dentist....ouch!!! new
      #196380 - 06/16/06 02:49 PM

All good points. Some of this stems from me still adjusting to recently finding out I am postive and the fact that I'm a medical professional in a small town whose career would likely be over if my status were known based on the average patient's fear of HIV.

Unfortnuately I know some excellent medical providers who admit in private conversation they still try to steer clear of HIV patients.

It's not a perfect world, even educated, well meaning people can have irrational fears.

So getting back to the original reason for the post, how do you deal with being positive and dental exams?




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Brandy
Guru

Reged: 01/19/06
Posts: 208
Loc: Oklahoma,USA
Re: Going to the dentist....ouch!!! new
      #196387 - 06/16/06 03:27 PM

when it comes to any one coming in contact with my blood.....I always disclose but that is just me, however I understand the fear, back when I first found out I went to an obgyn,for an appointment the nurse actually throw the pen I used away after I told her I was poz it hurt really bad at the time,I understand now she was uneducated about hiv, I ve grown alot since then NOW if that happend Id end up giving a lesson in hiv education and AWARENSSS......

--------------------
take care and be sooooo safe love,
Brandy

Live in the Moment!!!!

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Survivor
Legend

Reged: 10/30/05
Posts: 3256
Loc: Get off the fence and live again!
Re: Going to the dentist....ouch!!! new
      #196412 - 06/16/06 05:30 PM

I thought about this for awhile before going. I felt it important for all my Dr's to know my status, since they are taking care of my wellbeing. Given the fact that HIV/AIDS & the meds used can effect gums recessions etc. I felt it important. I have an extremly knowledable doctor and when I told him he just laughed and said "get your ass in here for your clenaing and about another couple hundred ahead of you (you think your the only one dont you? not by a long shot Eric". He hugged me on the way out the door. Me and the tooth cleaning gal talked about this.

She actually had a scare awhile back when a patient who did not disclose til later when she put her arm down, she inadvertantly landed on one of the instraments that cleaned his teeth causing a deep puncture through her protective gear. She was told after the fact about his AIDS diagnosis and she had to go through alot with preventative treatment and all (3 months of worry). Maybe if he told her, she would have been even more cautious and this may not have happened. She was so glad when I told her my status. We talked a very very long time and she was proud of me for allowing me to disclose to her and the dentist. I realize a puncture would probably be a bleed out of infection, but would you take that risk yourself if you were -ve????

Same goes for the eye doctor. There are certain problems HIV/AIDS patients have to deal with with their eyes. I will tell this doctor as well when the time comes to go..

These are all fine and dandy when you live in a world thats not stigmatized about HIVAIDS.. I will not go to a doctor who has problems with my condition.

Just my side of the fence...

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AIDS2HIV
Unregistered

Post deleted by Becky new
      #196417 - 06/16/06 06:50 PM



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Bear60
Legend

Reged: 12/21/05
Posts: 1390
Re: Going to the dentist....ouch!!! new
      #196418 - 06/16/06 06:52 PM

AMEN

--------------------
6 ft tall poz bear in Philadelphia

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DanielMark
Expert

Reged: 06/06/04
Posts: 120
Loc: Ottawa Canada
Re: Going to the dentist....ouch!!! new
      #196460 - 06/17/06 04:50 AM

... how do you deal with being positive and dental exams?

I understand your apprehension, but as others have pointed out, dentists now take universal precautions with all patients (gloves, masks, etc.)

As far as disclosing, I did so verbally and on the forms when I first went to my dental clinic. After 18 years of living with HIV, I feel no fear or shame about that anymore.

As far as dentists go, they are my mortal enemy. LOL I detest having to go to them, even for a simple dental cleaning, but I do it anyway.

--------------------
Follow your honest heart

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survivor4me
Member

Reged: 06/09/06
Posts: 19
Re: Going to the dentist....ouch!!! new
      #196504 - 06/17/06 04:37 PM

for now.. ... i've chosen not to disclose to my dentist as precuations are taken and my dentist also is a neighbor... that can make for unnecessary situations. I'm going to change dentists soon anyway... after the next visit or 2. After all I've been going to them for the last 3 years and I did NOT know. ...


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