by Toni Ramirez
There has been an unfortunate recent surge in dentistry gone awry. Dentists are not the only culprits, and this misfortune has gone global. From dental practices in Arkansas to consumers in Indonesia, dentistry seems to have picked up a bad reputation among the public, and local government officials are taking notice.
Unfortunate Incidents in the U.S.
In Fort Smith, Arkansas, over 80 patients are being tested for potential contamination of an infectious material. Following the death of a local dentist, the Drug Enforcement Administration took possession of the legal, controlled substances from his practice. Authorities then discovered that single-dose vials of Meperidine, also known as Demerol, had possibly been tampered with, because the caps had been taken off and placed back on. The doctor himself did not have an infectious disease and, luckily, neither have any of the patients that have been tested. Dr. Dirk Haselow with the Health Department has informed the media that this incident is not an emergency, so the public does not need to be overly concerned.
Oklahoma’s Board of Dentistry inspected a practice and filed a complaint against a Tulsa oral surgeon after a patient contracted hepatitis C, which may have been the result of dental surgery. The Health Department has contacted over 7,000 patients, notifying them to get screened for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and the virus that causes AIDS due to unsafe practices at two clinics.
A professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York indicated that this case is an anomaly. “There’s all sorts of codes. The employees are watching. The patients are watching. With all the news reports of mini-epidemics caused by unsafe practices, I think everybody is” more careful, Dr. Dieterich explained.
International Health Concerns
Countries in the eastern hemisphere are also experiencing dental abnormalities, but they are not stemming from dental professionals. Young teenagers started a craze that has now spread to the adult population in Thailand, China, and Indonesia, where braces have come to be seen as a sign of wealth, status, and style. To meet the demand of this popular commodity, the supply is now considerably cheap, fake, and dangerous. Dental professionals do not need to be consulted for installation; kids can have them put on at beauty salons or purchase DIY kits online or at flea markets.
Fashion braces have a considerable amount of health risks and have led to the deaths of two Thai teenagers. Police connected the deaths of 14-year-old and 17-year-old teenagers in Kohn Kaen and Chonburi, Thailand, to the braces. The Thai government has responded by making the importation, production, and sale of the braces illegal.
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