Why Should We Discuss Viral Hepatitis

Why Should We Discuss Viral Hepatitis

Oct 10, 2023

The Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) stands as the main offender behind acute and chronic liver infections, cirrhosis, and primary hepatocellular carcinoma on a global scale. A staggering 300 million individuals worldwide carry the virus, with developing countries harboring 90% of these carriers. The Asian continent accounts for a staggering 75% of global carriers, where 8% to 15% of the population is infected.

Viral hepatitis has quietly spread across the world, leaving a trail of liver cirrhosis and carcinoma in its wake, with hepatitis B infection being the primary culprit. Within the confines of a dental clinic, infections can propagate through various means. These include direct contact with blood, oral fluids, or other secretions. Indirect contact can occur through contaminated instruments, equipment, or even the surrounding environment. Airborne transmission is also a possibility, with droplet splatter or aerosols carrying oral and respiratory fluids.

Spread of HBV in Dental Practices 

Given the nature of dental procedures, exposure to various strains of oral bacteria and viruses poses severe health risks if left untreated. The consistent utilization of dental instruments and tools heightens the likelihood of contamination, necessitating strict sterilization protocols to curtail the spread of infections.

Consequently, diligent dentists will adhere to rigorous sterilization and disinfection mandates during dental practice. Their commitment is evident in their adoption of cutting-edge infection control techniques, aimed at minimizing the risk of infections.

Role of a Dentist in Infection Prevention

To maintain a healthy environment in dental practices, the use of disinfectants for sterilization is crucial. Dentists who prioritize hygiene and infection control are dedicated to providing top-quality services.

A Good dentist will always:

1. Adopt a Proper Instrument Sterilization

Ensuring the utmost level of infection control entails prioritizing the sterilization of dental instruments. Dentists must diligently sterilize all instruments using an autoclave after each use. By employing this state-of-the-art apparatus, which employs pressurized steam, it becomes possible to completely eradicate any lingering microorganisms or spores that may reside on the dental instruments.

2. Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

It is imperative for a skilled dentist to don the necessary personal protective equipment, such as gloves, masks, and glasses. By utilizing PPE, dentists fortify themselves against the perils of infectious spores. Moreover, these precautionary measures safeguard patients from any potential exposure to harmful bacteria or viruses.

3. Ensure a safe Surface and Equipment Disinfection

An adept dentist diligently applies disinfectants to cleanse all surfaces and dental equipment post each treatment. These disinfectants are exclusively tailored for dentistry, guaranteeing optimal sterilization and meticulous infection control.

Dentists play an indispensable role in preventing infections, especially in controlling the transmission of the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) within dental practices. Their strict adherence to sterilization protocols, precise use of personal protective equipment, and utilization of advanced infection control methods position them as the primary defenders against the spread of harmful pathogens. Their steadfast dedication to upholding hygiene standards and ensuring patient safety showcases the level of commitment needed to reduce the risks associated with viral infections like HBV. By consistently maintaining these rigorous measures, dentists significantly contribute to safeguarding both their patients’ well-being and the broader community from the potential spread of infectious diseases.

 Authored by Dr. ZA Faheem, Chief Medical Officer

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