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Dentist : blood from another patient : risk ?


Good morning,
I had a bad experience yesterday. I went to the dentist and I noticed some blood on the plastic glass he uses to put the cottons, waste,... Actually This glass is always the one of the previous person. I didn't say anything at this moment but I haven't slept this night.

I'm afraid the assistant could have put her fingers on it and afterwards on the tools. I'm afraid the dentist could have touched the glass with the tools and after put the tools in my mouth. I'm really scared for being contaminated with HIV or another virus.
I was bleeding because of the dental procedure.

What do I have to do ? Help me please.
Sorry for my bad English.

Thanks by advance.



Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about whether there is a possibility of HIV transmission due to the dental assistant making contact with the glass which had blood on it, and then subsequently making contact with blood in your mouth. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be Negligible (there is no evidence or documented cases of transmission).

The scenario mentioned above does not meet the three components of the transmission equation. It does not satisfy the equation because there is no evidence of HIV from the blood in the glass making direct contact with any wounds in your mouth.

As you have mentioned, the dental assistant made contact with a variety of surfaces, including the waste glass and the dental tools. There does not seem to be any direct contact of blood from previous patients to the wound in your mouth. Further, HIV outside the body or drying HIV causes a significant reduction in HIV concentration (90-99%) [1]. HIV does not survive for long periods of time outside the human body and it also cannot reproduce outside of a human host. As such, since the blood from previous patients had been exposed to the environment, it cannot pose a risk of transmission; the chances of HIV acquisition are Negligible.

It is worth mentioning that dental practices in unsanitary environments are unethical and illegal. Any form of medical practice is contingent on cleanliness of the work environment, professionalism, and the health of the patient. Nonetheless, based on the description of the scenario you have provided, there is still Negligible risk of HIV transmission, meaning there is an extremely unlikely chance you have had an exposure to HIV.

Recommendation: There is no evidence or no documented cases of transmission. Refer to Physician for more personalized answers.

Regards, AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Mahtab