Safe dentistry

Published: Friday 30 April 1993

VARIOUS studies indicate that the risk of contracting AIDS during receiving or providing dental treatment is negligible because in the past decade worldwide, only 5 patients -- and all from a single dental practice -- are known to have become infected by dentists and only 2 dental care staff out of more than 7,000 tested in USA, acquired the illness from patients (The Lancet, Vol 340, No 8830).

None of the more than 15,000 patients treated in USA by 32 HIV-infected health care workers, including 16 dentists, acquired the infection.

The worldwide Federation Dentaire Internationale maintains patients with HIV infection should not be denied oral health care because of their infection. But it also urges dental health care staff to be fully aware of the risks of cross-infection and to ensure they comply with all recommended safety guidelines.

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