Some of the deadliest diseases, some of which remain chronic and incurable even after treatment, are spread through exposure to the blood of an infected host. In the dental profession, exposure to blood is extremely common and undeniable.
While you yourself might not be up close and personal with a patient’s blood, your colleagues in the clinical area certainly are — and unless everything is properly maintained and cleaned, blood can remain on surfaces afterward, possibly spreading the infection to you or even other patients. While there are many different bloodborne illnesses, we’ll look at two of the most common and most dreaded — Hepatitis B and C, and also Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
ALL dental healthcare workers should receive a Hepatitis B vaccination. You might have already received it — however, if you haven’t, you should. Your dental employer will cover the costs themselves. There is no booster schedule, though vaccination takes place over time — specifically, through a series of three doses over a six-month period.
This vaccine will do a great job of keeping you safe from Hepatitis B. Even if your practice is amazing at keeping up with infection control, it’s still important to protect yourself properly just as you protect your practice, patients, and colleagues.
HIV is another bloodborne illness that is very well-known. It is a chronic disease, meaning it is not curable after being contracted. However, the good news is that the risk of contact with HIV is relatively low.