Oral Health Group

Letter (March 01, 2001)

March 1, 2001
by Oral Health

Re: ‘Quantifiable Risk in Dentistry: A Letter to the Profession,’ by Dr. E. J. Neiburger, Oral Health, January, 2001

I am writing to congratulate the Editorial Board for the insight and courage to publish the Neiburger article, which I view as innovative and a refreshing look at the infection control issue.

Dr. Neiburger’s views are logical and science-based. In the past the professions’ thinking has been media-driven and few of us have had the courage to speak up publicly for fear of being put down unceremoniously. I have often wondered why the academic leadership and those claiming to be scientists have not spoken up earlier. I sense there are many others among us that feel the same way and I am comfortable that the tide will now turn toward evidence-based infection control protocol. No dentist or patient has ever died from a dentist not wearing latex gloves but certainly many have died from latex allergy induced anyphylactic shock.

Eric Luks, DDS, D. Orth., MScD


It was truly refreshing to read an erudite critique of today’s dental infection control philosophy. As conscientious dentists we attempt to follow recommendations in good faith, even when the endless measures are virtually impossible to implement. I’m sure many dentists wonder if the measures are necessary or effective. Judging from Dr. Neiburger’s incisive analysis, much of what we do is neither.

Here in the U.S., implementation of the burdensome recommendations is equated with quality. Dentists who attempt to exercise good judgement risk the rejection of their patients and the vitriol of the dental board. I fear that we in the U.S. are inextricably mired in our excesses. Hopefully, Canada is still open to sound measures based upon science as opposed to politics.

Stephen D. Carter, DDS

Snellville, GA

Congratulations on your courage to publish Dr. Neiburger’s ‘Letter to the Profession.’ The article was a breath of fresh air after a decade of unscientific scare mongering by AIDS activists and lately by the Hepatitis harbingers. Dentists of my generation have spent 30 years plus in the treatment of patients without infecting our staff, our patients or ourselves both in the pre-AIDS era and the post-AIDS era. Most of us have lost the desire to be up to our elbows in saliva and blood and will probably continue with our own versions of ‘Universal Precautions,’ more as a public relations gesture than based on scientific principle. Life entails some risks, but keep a sense of proportion.

Joseph D. Zucchiatti, DDS

Terrace, BC

Thank-you so much for printing the article ‘Quantifiable Risk in Dentistry…’ by Dr. E. J. Neiburger. Too many editors lack courage these days as I have found out personally.

John Austgen, DDS

South Bend, IN

Regarding Dr. Neiburger’s article — Hallelujah. How utterly refreshing it is to see in print the details of the scam we call ‘Universal Precautions.’

If all that was to befall the majority of our patients subjected to dental treatment without the ‘benefit’ of these universal precautions, don’t the academics and scientists proposing them feel our hospitals and graveyards would be filled to overflowing with victims. Clearly this never was the case, is not the case and never will be the case.

The only victors in the perpetuating of this fallacy are the manufacturers of the products meant to enable us to deliver this ‘service’ and those who continue to support its utilization. How many millions of dollars have been wasted worldwide in carrying out this unnecessary hoax? The true victims are our patients who have to foot the bill for our increased costs as a result of these unrequired services.

Let’s hope that other brave thinkers will have the courage to publicly speak out against these often mandated requirements and that we will all live to see the day when ‘Universal Precautions’ are relegated to the same place in history as snakeoil and its salesmen. Well done Oral Health in bringing this excellent piece to our attention.

Gary Pitkin, DDS

Agincourt, ON

Congratulations for publishing Dr. Neiburger’s article. It was long overdue.

Dr. J. Victor Legault


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