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Nothing to smile about

Gazette staff April 3rd, 2013

Oklahomans don’t like going to the dentist. We hate it so much that, according to the United Health Foundation, the state ranks dead last in the percentage of adults who visit one at least once a year.

Credit: Brad Gregg

So if you’re one of those people who avoid the dentist as if it’s crawling with HIV, here’s an unsettling fact for you: It might be.

On March 28, the state Department of Health, the Tulsa Health Department and the state Board of Dentistry issued warnings of possible infection from blood-borne viruses to the patients of Dr. W. Scott Harrington, who practices in both Tulsa and Owasso. This came after health officials discovered that his dental instruments were not cleaned properly.

As a precaution, free HIV and hepatitis blood tests are being offered to the unfortunate 7,000 who have been treated at the facilities since 2007. Worry not: While it’s unclear just how long it had been occurring, this appears to be an isolated incident.

So by all means, keep going to the dentist. Or start going. Whichever.

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