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Oklahoma: Dental clinic inspections not necessary

March 29, 2013 • National News


Dentist Alice G. Boghosian removes packages of properly sterilized dental instruments from an autoclave that uses heat and steam to sterilize the tools Friday, March 29, 2013, in Chicago. Health officials in Oklahoma are calling an oral surgeon there who used dirty equipment and risked cross-contamination a “menace to public health” and are urging thousands of his patients to seek medical screenings for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. Though officials say such situations involving dental clinics are rare, Dr. Matt Messina, a dentist in Cleveland, and a consumer advisor for the American Dental Association, says patients should ask their dentist and oral surgeon about the steps they and their staffs take to sterilize equipment. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The Oklahoma agency that accused a Tulsa oral surgeon of unsanitary practices, putting thousands of people at risk for hepatitis and HIV, says it’s never needed to inspect medical offices regularly.

“This doesn’t happen,” Susan Rogers, the executive director of the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry, said Friday. “There’s not been a need for these inspections because we’ve never had a complaint like this.”

That’s not unusual. Some other states don’t routinely inspect clinics, either, noting they don’t have the money and such incidents are so rare that the need just isn’t there.

In Oklahoma, the Board of Dentistry’s small staff does inspections only if the agency receives a complaint. That’s what happened in the case of Dr. W. Scott Harrington, whose practice was inspected after officials determined a patient may have Login to read more

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