The American Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported newly discovered cases of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) among dental specialists in the United States of America (USA).
Between 2000 and 2015 in Virginia's third largest treatment center, 894 patients were diagnosed with IBF. Of these, 9 were doctors of dental medicine and 1 was a dental technician, 3 were ex-smokers, 1 had never used cigarettes, and for the rest of these data were not clear from the anamnesis.
Despite the treatment, 7 of those treated died. One of the surviving patients in the group reported that he had been in daily contact with dental polishing materials and had prepared dental amalgam and taken dental prints without using personal protective equipment (PPE).
The materials that are handled on a daily basis contain silicon, polyvinyl siloxane, alginate and other compounds with pronounced lung toxicity.
This is the first described IPF cluster among dental nurses, CDC reports. All dentists registered in the United States make up about 0.038% of the total local population and 0.893% of patients treated for IPF at the designated treatment center, ie a 23-fold higher incidence of the disease in this group compared to the general population.
Although CDC claims that there is no clear evidence on which to base such a cluster, daily exposure to the impact of dental materials is in all cases considered a risk factor. Case registration will help to further investigate, understand and trace the link between substance exposure and the development of IPF, as well as to create prevention strategies.
The Virginia report includes a very small number of IPF cases. This calls for more patients to be followed up and a more in-depth study before we can draw any conclusions about the risks dentists and other dental professionals have with regard to IPF according to Randall Net, MD, MPH, lead author of the study and a medical associate at the American Public Health Service ACCA.
All workers involved in the dental health and care sector have an increased level of exposure to harmful agents at work. These agents include various chemicals, bacteria, viruses, dust, gases, radiation, etc. They all directly penetrate the body through airborne and contact pathways, damaging the lungs and other structures of the body. Currently there is not known knowledge that knows the exact cause of the development of IPF among this group of doctors of dental medicine, but it is likely to be a professionally conditioned disease is according to Net.