Hepatitis and Dental Care

ImageHepatitis is a disease of concern and the management of a patient infected with it can be difficult and challenging. HBV and HCV can be transmitted by skin prick with infected, contaminated needles and syringes or through accidental inoculation of minute quantities of blood during dental procedures. Therefore, proper preventive measures must be adopted with strict protocol to prevent the transmission of the virus from the dental practitioner to the patient and from the patient to the dentist. Hepatitis can also have severe effects on the clotting ability of blood and other significant correlations and extrahepatic oral manifestations. Therefore, preventive oral hygiene measures must be implemented to reduce the need for dental surgical treatments.

In many cases, discrimination and stigma, or fear and past experience can prevent people with hepatitis B or C from accessing dental and other healthcare services. Therefore, one must make an endeavor to ensure a welcoming and nonjudgmental approach to treating all clients, to ensure the provision of effective healthcare and follow-up. Prevention is an important aspect in controlling the spread of this viral infection as an epidemic. Knowing facts, having proper awareness, and proper behavior and attitude toward clinical aspects of the infection and toward the patients are critical to prevent the spread of these infections.

Important to remember:

  • Occupational blood-borne infections are associated with significant morbidity and mortality.
  • HBV and HCV are common causes of occupational diseases transmitted from patients to health care workers and vice versa, and also to health care workers’ families.
  • Proper hand washing, use of barriers and puncture-resistant containers for sharp disposal can minimize exposures.
  • Unnecessary injections, the frequent use of unsterile needles and inappropriate hazardous waste disposal are the major blood-borne infection risk factors in developing countries.
  • The major source of HIV, HBV, HCV and other blood-borne pathogens is blood. However, it should be kept in mind that all body fluids can be infectious.

Source: ejgd.org and theijoem.com.

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