KEIZER, OR (KPTV) - An issue at a local dental office is leading to some patient notifications after dental equipment may not have been properly sterilized.
Patients who might be affected are being asked to get their blood tested as a precaution. It happened at the Gentle Dental in Keizer Station.
According to a letter received by the father of a patient, a team member discovered that their sterilization procedure may have been compromised on March 25 and March 26.
The letter says, “out of an abundance of caution we are requesting that you be tested for any blood borne pathogens” and Gentle Dental will pay for the testing.
Mitch Melbye said his 9-year-old daughter is among the affected patients, and they took her in for blood testing. Now, they’re waiting on the results.
“Heart kinda drops, you know? You’re scared, you’re angry,” Melbye said of finding out the news. “The four things they tested for was HIV, hepatitis, herpes and syphilis.”
Melbye said his daughter will have to go back in for additional blood tests twice more in the coming months, per her doctor’s orders to ensure nothing of concern develops.
“You shouldn’t ever have to worry about your kid catching something at a dental office or a doctor’s office because somebody didn’t do their job properly,” he said.
A representative for Gentle Dental tells FOX 12 this was a one-time issue and they believe a “very minimal amount” of patients were affected and the risk is low.
Gentle Dental’s Chief Dental Officer has been in touch with Melbye and the company provided the following statement:
“We recently became aware that in one Gentle Dental office (Keizer, OR), there occurred an incident in which the final step in the multi-step sterilization process may have been compromised by an isolated failure to follow office policy. It is possible that one or more of the instruments may have been used for patient treatment during a limited time after the incident. Because we value our patients, Gentle Dental takes patient safety very seriously. Our offices follow all best practices advocated by the American Dental Association and the Dental Board, and strongly adhere to all Dental Board and other regulations pertaining to infection control.
As part of our robust safety program, our offices utilize autoclaves (which are tested weekly to ensure that they meet all guidelines for infection control) as part of a multi-step process of sterilizing instruments between patients in compliance with all state and federal recommendations. As soon as we discovered the issue, we took immediate action to address the problem to take care of our patients. While we believe that the risk of potential exposure is minimal, out of an abundance of caution, we are actively reaching out to all patients treated during the several days following the date of the incident and are offering to have them tested for potential exposure at Gentle Dental’s cost.
We have taken immediate steps internally to re-train all staff and confirm our multi-step sterilization procedures are being followed to ensure that this remains an isolated incident. Please direct all inquiries regarding this matter to Sandra Lau, General Counsel, at (310) 259-4344.”
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