How to Protect Yourself At The Dentist

(Memphis) Dr. Kelli Dumas has been a dentist in Memphis for over two decades and says she’s never seen anything like the news coming out of Tulsa Oklahoma, “I was completely stunned. I don’t think is at all representative of our industry. At all.”

Oklahoma health officials are investigating Dr. Scott Harrington after allegations he may have exposed seven thousand patients to HIV and hepatitis because he didn’t properly sterilize his tools.

They also claim his assistants were giving IVs to patients and reusing old needles.

“No dental assistant in America should start an IV. Only a doctor should administer an IV sedation into a patients arm,” said Dr. Dumas.

Here’s how the sanitation processes is supposed to work for dental instruments:

  • First, the person doing it must wear gloves
  • They should take the dirty instruments and stick them into a machine that shakes off all the debris
  • After that, the instruments are put in a plastic wrapper and they are put into an Autoclave which it cleans the instruments and sanitizes them with water and pressure.

Dr. Dumas says you can tell if your utensils have been sanitized because clear prints on the packaging will turn a darker color.

Another problem health officials found in Tulsa was the use of bleach to clean.  Dr. Dumas says this will cause instruments to go rusty and make patients sick.

Now a days her office and most others use special cleaners that target HIV and hepatitis and are not toxic to your health.

Dr. Dumas says you can always ask your dentist if the tools have been sterilized, and if you don’t trust it you can ask for a different pack.