More than 30 children have become sick after undergoing procedures at a
Southern California dentist’s office. The infection outbreak has
been linked to contaminated water used during the procedures.
reported by CNN, all of the children underwent a procedure at Children's Dental Group
in Anaheim known as a pulpotomy, where infected pulp tissue of a tooth
is treated and/or removed. To date, 41 patients ages three to nine years
old have become sick after visiting the clinic between March and July
of this year.
In September, the Orange County Health Care Agency confirmed that multiple
samples taken from the dental office’s internal on-site water system
tested positive for mycobacterium that is similar to the Mycobacteria
chelonae/abscessus. The agency subsequently ordered the dental office
to stop using the water system for patient care and to stop performing
Nonetheless, additional infection reports are likely. "Several hundred
people had these pulpotomies, so we are anticipating that for at least
the next several weeks or months, we're going to see more cases,"
said Dr. Matthew Zahn of the Orange County Health Care Agency.
The bacteria that sickened the children often grows in stagnant water.
Accordingly, the Dental Board of California is investigating whether the
Children's Dental Group followed proper infection control procedures.
State regulations require that water lines be "purged with air or flushed with water for at least two minutes"
Symptoms of Mycobacterium abscessus dental infections include swelling,
redness, and pain around the infected tooth. In many cases, the bacteria
will slowly spread to the gum and jawbone. The good news is that the bacterial
infection is treatable through debridement of infected tissue and use
of combination antibiotic therapy for a prolonged period. However, some
infected children may require a large amount of infected tissue or bone
to be removed, which could result in long-term health consequences.
If your child or someone you care about has suffered serious harm due to
a dental error, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information, please contact
a San Diego medical malpractice attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage
for a free consultation.