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Caution Against Re-use of Dental Tools

Dentists have been cautioned against the re-use of device employed for root canal work, as there is a possibility of it causing infection in patients// with variant CJD. Research has indicated a possible link, though according to England’s, Chief Dental Officer, there have been no such cases yet.

This new advice to Dentists is only precautionary based on the recommendation from the expert Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee. This would be applicable to instruments called as files and reamers. These instruments are employed most frequently to remove damaged tissue from the root canal of a tooth during endodontic procedures.

Dr Barry Cockcroft, the chief dental officer for England, said: "There are no reported definite or suspected cases of vCJD transmission arising from dental procedures. This new guidance to dentists is purely an extra precaution. The public should continue to attend their dentist as normal."

The rate of infection is still ambiguous. In the England and Wales, there are nearly one million NHS endodontic treatments annually. According to statistics there have been about 165 cases of variant CJD since 1996. In the recent past, there have been no reports of VcJD due to transmission from dentistry treatment.

Peter Ward, chief executive of the British Dental Association, said: "Dentists take patient health and safety seriously and will apply this latest guidance robustly. The extremely low incidence of traceable infections originating from dental practice should give confidence that dentistry is one of the safest areas of healthcare."
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