What Are the Risks of Improperly Sterilized Dental Tools?

In recent years, there have been several cases of patients being harmed by doctors who did not properly sanitize their dental tools. This is frightening and puts individuals and families at risk.

It’s important to understand the risks as well as your rights whenever you go into a dental procedure. If you or your loved one may have been affected by improperly sterilized dental tools, consider seeking the help of lawyers specializing in medical malpractice at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. today.

Dental tools must go through strict hygiene procedures

Dental offices are required to completely sanitize all tools and equipment between use on each patient. Dental tools must be rinsed, cleansed with germicide, and heat-sterilized in an autoclave to fully ensure the safety of the equipment. This sanitization helps prevent the spread of infections, bacteria, viruses, and diseases between individuals and amongst populations. If dentists and dental hygienists do not take these steps, patients might be exposed to a range of infectious diseases.

Risk of viruses from tools

If tools are not properly sterilized, patients can be exposed to a range of viruses, including Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, or influenza. Here are some of the viruses, diseases, and side effects that can be caused by dirty dental tools.

1. Side effects and symptoms of Hepatitis B include:

  • Long-lasting tiredness or fatigue
  • Light-colored stool
  • Jaundice
  • Fever
  • Belly pain
  • Stomach or digestive problems, such as vomiting, lessened appetite, or nausea

Hepatitis B is a dangerous disease that can, in some cases, cause liver cancer or failure, and kidney disease.

2. Side effects and symptoms of Hepatitis C include:

  • Jaundice
  • Joint pain
  • Itchy skin
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Dark urine
  • Profound fatigue
  • Poor appetite
  • Stomach problems
  • Stomach pain

If these symptoms sound familiar, and you think it might be due to dental malpractice, seek the help of a medical malpractice lawyer or a group of lawyers specializing in medical malpractice as a matter of urgency.

3. Signs and symptoms of HIV:

  • Profound fatigue or unexplained exhaustion
  • Severe night sweats
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Prolonged fevers
  • Sores near the mouth
  • Feeling dizzy, tired, or lightheaded
  • Sore throat

HIV is extremely dangerous, and if you suspect you’ve contracted HIV from a dental procedure, seek both medical help and the help of a malpractice lawyer at our law firm immediately.

4. The signs, symptoms, and side effects of influenza are a bit more familiar:

  • Feeling feverish/chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Bouts of diarrhea
  • Belly pain
  • Vomiting
  • Cough
  • Sore throat

If you were otherwise healthy and then experienced several or more of the above symptoms after a visit to a dentist’s office, it might be worthwhile remembering the state of the tools and the hygiene practice in the office.


It’s easy to overlook one of the dentist’s main tools: water.

In some cases, contaminated water lines in dental offices cause a range of infections. One dental water-contracted infection called Legionnaire’s disease killed a patient in 2011. While these cases are rare, they do exist, and the risk is real.

Dentists should continually check the safety of their water lines to ensure patient safety.


In brief, dentists should be making every possible effort to ensure the cleanliness of their tools, the sanitization of their equipment, and patient health and safety. However, medical malpractice does occur, and sometimes it is necessary to seek out of the help of a medical malpractice lawyer at our law firm.

If you feel that you or your loved one might have been affected by improperly sterilized dental tools, contact Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. today. Fill out the easy contact form online or call any time of day, toll-free at 1-866-642-4529 today to receive a free case evaluation. Remember, it’s important to seek justice and compensation for yourself and your loved ones.

Emma Reed has a background in Psychology (B.A.) and Medical Anthropology (M.S.) and writes for a variety of medical publications. Her passion is making cutting-edge medical information accessible to a broader audience, and her work often examines the intersections of sociology, anthropology, and medicine.




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