Infection control from HIV is very important for both medical and dental professionals. In fact, HIV patients who get their dental care routine may transmit the disease easily in dental clinics. It can get dangerous considering HIV can transfer from dental tools or cotton swabs. Thus, a dental professional who treats HIV patients should clean the environment properly and use gloves. Sterilization and proper hygiene practice while treating an HIV patient with dental topical anesthetic is useful. Dentists may also use alternative anesthetics such as laughing gas masks or oral anesthesia. If you are interested, you may learn more about sleep dentistry by clicking on this link.
Why HIV Is A World Health Problem
HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus is one of the chronic health illnesses that still doesn’t have any cure. According to UNAIDS.org, there are about 37.9 million people living worldwide with HIV as of the end of 2018. As of today, there are still many individuals unaware of being positive with HIV. Oral health professionals are usually the first ones to detect any signs of HIV. These are due to the obvious HIV symptoms seen in the mouth, tongue, and gums. Moreover, HIV is a transmittable disease and anyone can get it, no matter what their age is. It targets the immune system so rapidly that it becomes weaker and has fatal results leading to death.
How To Treat Dental Problems For HIV Patients
Before treating an HIV positive patient, the dentist should consider the status of their health. Honest communication about HIV itself is really important as some patients may feel embarrassed or shy about having contracted this disease. Hence, a dentist should diagnose the patient very carefully. History and medical documents are also useful for analysis. Don’t forget to ask the patient about these important details to avoid the spreading of HIV in your dental clinic. A dental topical anesthetic is vital to make the person feel relaxed while having dental health care. It will also help the patient feel at ease and less anxious about going back for dental care again.
Treatment for bleeding and swelling
Blood can contain HIV and is risky if the dentist is not knowledgable on how to clean it properly. A dental handpiece and saliva ejector after dental work requires sterilization to avoid HIV spreading to other patients.
Dental topical anesthetic
It is important for dentists to still administer dental topical anesthetic for HIV patients. As HIV is transmittable through saliva, a dentist needs careful hands to avoid gag reflex. Apply the right amount of dental topical anesthetic to the HIV patient. Ask the patient if he or she may want to get oral anesthetics instead or use a laughing gas mask for the sedation.
Some surgeries are not applicable
Patients that have HIV are not allowed to get some restorative treatments. One of the reasons why is that restorative treatments can even weaken the person’s immune system through the spreading of HIV towards the other parts of the body. In addition, there are not enough alternatives for restorative treatment that doesn’t involve surgery. Surgery is super risky with HIV patients and may even put the patient’s lifeline at a fatal state.
Dentists Should Be Careful With HIV Transmission
To emphasize, dentists should have the proper guidelines for cleaning their clinics or medical facilities. Autoclaves are useful sterilization machines that thoroughly eliminates the virus through heat and steam. Better invest in equipment and cleaning products that can prevent infection.
Preventive Oral Hygiene Will Decrease HIV Issues
It is also the responsibility of the dentist to remind the HIV patient to practice regular dental routines. Brush lightly and floss gently to avoid bleeding. Furthermore, patients are recommended to return to a dentist twice as much as other people do. This will help monitor their symptoms and can even get referrals for doctors for preventive care.