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C-Diff and Dentistry

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In recent news, including on Good Morning America, there has been concerns about Clostridium difficile in the dental field. It is not the spread of this bacterial disease in the dental setting that is the issue, as C. difficile is typically not transmitted in the dental setting, so you can breathe a sigh of relief there, but being aware is still important.

c-diff“Transcript for New Warning About CDIFF Superbug taken from ABC:

that new warning about a superbug lurking in the offices of doctors and dentists. A new report from the CDC reveals it is responsible for nearly 29,000 deaths in the U.S. Every year. Dr. Richard Besser here with more and, rich, the bug is called c-diff. What do we know about where it comes from and what we can do about it. The most common infection picked up in hospitals and the thing about this infection is you can pick it up and it causes no problems then you take an antibiotic and it takes over and can cause severe infection and diarrhea and in 29,000 people it can be deadly. Talk about had link between c-diff and antibiotics. This bacteria lives in the environment and we have good bacteria that provide protection. When you take an antibiotic it kills off those bacteria and allows the dangerous germ to take over and cause these very severe infections. How do we prevent the spread? One thing they found not all are being picked up in the hospital. 0% who don’t get it in the hospital have recently visited a doctor’s or dentist’s office and lives on surfaces. It’s not killed by alcohol sanitizer. You have to use soap and water. So use that soap and water and doctors need to be careful about prescribing those drugs. Once you get it you have to be careful about taking any antibiotics at all. Very careful. Okay, rich Besser, thanks very much.” Watch more from GMA and Dr. Besser here.

What does this mean for You and the Dentist?

We want you to know that you should NOT be concerned about getting this disease at your dental appointment, as transmission occurs through contact with feces, but if you do have any of the symptoms (watery diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain/tenderness) you should let your doctor know, as taking antibiotics greatly increases the risk. The CDC states, “Use antibiotics judiciously.” It is imperative to stay up-to-date on the current standards for use of antibiotics. The use of prophylactic antibiotics continues to change so careful consideration needs to be used when making decisions about antibiotics.

Keeping a clean office is important to Szmanda Dental Center. We use steam sterilization which kills all bacteria and spores. We always wear gloves when appropriate and perform hand hygiene after removing gloves. In addition, we continually monitor all our equipment so it adheres to the CDC and ADA standards. If you have any further questions on this issue or any others, please let us know!