Dentistry

Philadelphia health officials have closed three dental offices in the city for “unsafe infection control practices” and told patients they should be tested for HIV and hepatitis B and C.

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health, working with the Pennsylvania Department of State, ordered the closure of all three Trieu Family Dental Clinics, located at 437 West Chew Ave., 5427 N. Fifth St. and 6536 Woodland Ave.

Acting on an anonymous tip, investigators last year found “improper reprocessing and sterilization of dental equipment and lapses in injection safety practices [that] put the safety of patients at risk,” the Health Department said in a statement.

The department advised patients of the clinics to contact their regular health care providers to be tested for hepatitis C virus, hepatitis B virus and HIV, but added: “The Health Department believes the risk of infection to be low, and is not aware of any infections as a result of these unsafe practices.”

Since the three practices were closed on Dec. 7, the Health Department has worked with the clinics to update their infection control practices and re-educate staff.

The clinics will not be allowed to re-open until the Health Department is satisfied that all unsafe practices have been remedied. The Pennsylvania Department of State is conducting a separate investigation.

The Health Department sent letters to all patients who received dental care at the three clinics between Jan. 1, 2017, and Dec. 7, 2018, recommending that they see their regular health care provider or a neighborhood clinic for testing.

Patients who have questions about the clinics or their potential exposure should call a special hotline at (215) 685-4949 between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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