Saturday, 23 June, 2018

Lung Disease Killing Dentists in Mysterious Cluster, CDC Report Says

A Mysterious Lung Disease Is Striking Virginia Dentists Credit Shutterstock
Anna Jefferson | 12 March, 2018, 14:53

"Younger dentists are taught differently than in the past, so they know to delegate certain work or procedures to laboratories that meet more safe and stringent ventilation requirements".

Well, odd to know, that dentists are dying due to lung disease, but what's the exact reason behind this disease, yet not found. Going in depth, once the patient has been diagnosed with this disease, there is hardly three to five year of survival chances.

According to the CDC, nine dentists or dental workers have so far been diagnosed with the disease, called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, all of whom were treated at the same specialty clinic in Virginia. Defining the cluster, Nett told CNN, it is a term used to define a collection of cases "grouped in place and time that are suspected to be greater than the number expected".

The average age of the dentists who died was 64 and all were male.

While the doctors can not find what caused the scarring condition to the cluster of dentists, some experts have suggested viral infections, cigarette smoking, and occupations where exposure to dust, wood dust, and metal dust are common, as the contributing factors to IPF.

The cluster of cases first came to light when a Virginia dentist went to get treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis at a clinic and he realized that other dentists in his area had also been treated at the clinic for the same condition.

Even though CDC investigators have not figured out the reasons of IPF, Nett said, "More work has to be done before we can make any conclusions about the risk dentists or other dental personnel have".

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The researchers recommend that dental workers wear certified respiratory masks if they perform tasks that could result in respiratory hazards and the work area is not well ventilated.

Although the reason behind this remains unsuspected, there might be certain factors contributing towards growth of this disease such as smoking, viral infection, exposure of toxic substance at the time of polishing the dental appliances without wearing any surgical mask for safety objective in order to avoid the damage caused to the body by inhaling the dust particles, as per chief policy officer of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's Pediatric Oral Health & Research Center, Paul Casamassimo, shared with CNN.

For years, dentists have been exposed to plaster and dust from drilling, in addition to the toxic substances listed in the report.

Still, the researchers only found an association between dental work and this lung disease, and can not say for certain whether the work did indeed cause the disease.

"We do work with materials and with human bioproducts that are potentially damaging to our bodies if we inhale them", said Casamassimo. National Institutes of Health explain.

"My father passed away at 79", Casamassimo said.

"This probably has been more common than we have known in the past", he said.

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