Ask your Family Dentist in Austin, Tx – The Dangers of Hepatitis and HIV
Medical conversations are difficult. It is certainly awkward to talk about specific decisions. Especially when most people attach a stigma to that condition. However, ignoring any attempt to create a level of awareness of these medical conditions increases not only an increased ignorance of the general populace, but it also increases the chances of other people spreading these diseases around. That is why on a global scale there is a push for sex education. And with a recent news story breaking out about a Tennessee dentist who could have possibly spread both Hepatitis B&C and HIV because of a failure to sanitize his equipment it is important for your family dentist to use this opportunity to talk about this to prevent it from happening again as much as possible.
So, we, dentists in Austin, Tx, will talk about and possibly dispel myths about Hepatitis and HIV.
Why Does a Doctor or Dentist Sterilize Equipment
I mentioned earlier it that a Dentist in Tennessee told the people in their area to get themselves checked for the possibility of HIV after failure to sterilize dental equipment. But why should patients get tested for HIV if the dentist was dealing with equipment that wasn’t reserved for a gynecology appointment? And why should equipment be sterilized before every use, doesn’t your immune system fight germs?
People base these questions on very dangerous misconceptions about how the diseases operate. Misconceptions that are consistently growing thanks to anti-government or anti-worldly sentiment. So, what is the truth? What can cause the spread of these conditions in the first place?
First, we will cover sterilization. Why is sterilization important before doctors use any medical equipment? The short answer is to decrease the chances of infection and slow down the spread of invasive bacteria and viruses. Diseases are easy to transmit through saliva, blood, and other fluids. So, it would make sense for dentists to take precautions with their equipment. Especially if they see multiple patients a day.
That does beg the question, “Can I get HIV from dirty surgical equipment?”
HIV and Hepatitis Transmission
HIV and Hepatitis B and C are a disease based on viral transmission. While most of the United States think both diseases because of sexual transmission, and often stigmatize it, this isn’t the only way that we can pass the virus along. In fact, there are multiple ways in which we can pass along this disease. These other methods include:
- Sharing needles or other injection drug equipment (works) with someone who has HBV
- Sharing razors, toothbrushes, or similar personal items with someone who has HBV
- Contact with the blood or open sores of a person who has HBV
- From an accidental prick or cut from an HBV-contaminated needle or other sharp object
- From a mother who has HBV to her child during childbirth
So, we can not just transmit this blood born pathogen responsible for HIV and HBV through sexual means. It can be given from a mother to a child. We can even pass it through a toothbrush. But how is that possible for a toothbrush to infect a person with these viruses?
Dental Anatomy of Gums and Teeth
Surprisingly enough, our teeth and gums require a constant supply of blood flow. It is what keeps our tissues, and teeth alive. The blood flow provides oxygen and nutrients for the growth and preservation of both the teeth and gums. And it doesn’t take much to expose the bloodstream between the tooth and gum line. All it takes is a bit of gum recession from gingivitis or periodontitis and the blood vessels are exposed.
Combine this with dental equipment that are not properly sterilized by dentists, and you can see why the person who made the mistake urged people to get tested as soon as possible.
But if there is a possibility that someone gets any of these conditions at a dental office, what sort of procedure should you follow? Is there a cure for any of them?
What to Do if you Have HPV or HIV?
Hepatitis B- “Vaccination is the best way to prevent all of the ways that hepatitis B is transmitted. People with HIV who do not have active HBV infection should be vaccinated against it.”
Hepatitis C – Unfortunately, there is no vaccination or cure for the disease. This is where you would need to exercise the utmost caution.
HIV – While there is no cure for HIV it is managble thanks to antiretroviral therapy today. But we still have a long way to go and it is costly.
If you get any of these, seek help and do what you can to protect yourself and others around you.
I will end this on a final bit of advice. Patients, don’t be afraid to talk to your dentists about any concerns over this, even if they have been in practice for a long time. Mistakes happen, and if you feel unsafe, you should look into asking questions. If nothing else, you should not feel bad for protecting yourself by thinking a little critically.