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Electric Dental Handpieces

Audience: Dentists, Oral Surgeons, dental hygienists, other healthcare professionals

[Posted 12/13/2007] FDA informed healthcare professionals about serious patient injuries, including third degree burns, associated with the use of poorly maintained electric dental handpieces during dental procedures. Some patients had third degree burns which required plastic surgery. Burns may not be apparent to the operator or the patient until after the tissue damage occurred, because the anesthetized patient cannot feel the tissue burning and the handpiece housing insulates the operator from the heated attachment. Although the reported burns occurred during the cutting of tooth and bone, tooth extraction and other dental surgical procedures, overheating can also occur during any dental procedure. This problem is not limited to dentistry. Rotary surgical handpieces can cause patient burns during orthopedic procedures, as reported in the July 2003 edition of FDA Patient Safety News. Read the FDA Public Health Notification for specific actions to prevent or minimize serious patient injuries associated with using electric dental handpieces.

[December 12, 2007 - Public Health Notification - FDA]

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