Dentist Encourages Visits Despite Recent Scares

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Recent dental scares in our area have raised questions for some patients wondering whether they should be worried about their own dentist. Medical professionals say the recent scares are isolated and add the profession is closely monitored.

Some patients began expressing these concerns over their own safety after state officials say an Arkansas dentist, who has since died, might have exposed patients in our area to an infectious disease. Meanwhile, authorities say a Tulsa dentist is being investigated after possibly exposing more than 7,000 patients to Hepatitis or HIV.

"You don't hear of dental scares," explained Dr. Scott Clark, a patient at Dallas Street Dental in Fort Smith. "You hear of other scares in different other aspects of the medical community but you think when you go to the dentist you're safe."

Fort Smith Dentist Dr. Bill Ligon said patients should rest assured knowing that the next time they have to visit the dentist, extensive guidelines are in place to protect their safety.

"Every surface that is touched is sterilized between patients," Dr. Ligon said. "There are very strict guidelines in place by OSHA on infection control procedures."

In fact, after every patient leaves the office all equipment is thoroughly sterilized, Dr. Ligon explained. Any items that are disposable are thrown out as well.

"It's just like anything else," Dr. Clark said. "There's dangers in everything but as long as it's kept upright and professional everything should be fine."

Dr. Ligon explained all dentists are expected to follow the strict guidelines put in place and reiterates that you should not be worried about going in for a check up. As for the two dentist scares in the area, those are still under investigation.

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