What has caused this issue and how was this issue identified?
How do I know if I am one of the patients at risk?
Why didn't I receive a letter?
What is being done to prevent this from happening with this or other dental practitioners?
Is the dental clinic still operating?
What are the diseases I could have been exposed to?
How will I know if I have these diseases?
What are the chances I will have one of these diseases at Dr Dinh's dental practice?
How else could I have got one of these diseases?
What should I do if I think I have had an invasive procedure?
How do I know if I have had an invasive procedure?
I already have one of these diseases - who can I talk to about this?
I wish to make a complaint against a health practitioner - who can I talk to?
What tests do I need to have?
How soon will I know the results of the tests?
Will I have to pay for seeing my doctor and having these blood tests?
Should I have the test even if I attended Dr Dinh's practice and didn't have an invasive procedure?
What should I do if I have a positive result?
What does it mean if I have a positive result?
Is there any evidence that patients have been infected as a result of these problems with infection control?
Where can I find further information?
Why wasn't this picked up earlier?
How do I know if other dental practitioners are safe?

What has caused this issue and how was this issue identified?

Following a complaint made to the Dental Council of NSW about Dr Dinh, the Council identified concerns regarding Dr Dinh’s infection control practices.. The Council conducted an inspection of Dr Dinh’s Liberty Plaza practice and identified that Dr Dinh was not cleaning, sterilising, and storing instruments in accordance with the relevant national guidelines set by the Dental Board of Australia.

Following the inspection by the Dental Council, the matter was referred to NSW Health and a public health investigation was initiated.

A NSW Health expert committee examined the findings of the investigation and concluded that there was a small risk that a blood borne virus infection (hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV) may have spread from one patient to another from the use of these instruments in certain procedures where the instruments are in contact with gums with open wounds. 

This risk applies only to people who had an “invasive” procedure at the clinic where dental instruments go into the gums or a diseased/injured tooth. The risk of any person being infected was assessed as low and testing is being recommended as a precaution

How do I know if I am one of the patients at risk?

If you were ever a patient of Dr Chau Bao (Paul) Dinh; depending on what procedures you had, there is a low risk that you may have been exposed to hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV.

  • If your dental treatment involved at least one invasive procedure including oral surgery, such as implant or removal of teeth, or procedures involving work on the gums or diseased or injured teeth, as a precaution we recommend that you are tested for blood borne virus infections.
  • If your dental treatment did not include an invasive procedure that involved instruments going into the gums or a diseased/injured tooth (e.g. simple examination, denture fitting) your risk of having caught a blood borne virus infection at the clinic is negligible, and you do not need to be tested.
  • If you are unsure whether or not you had an invasive procedure, NSW Health recommend you see your doctor to discuss testing for blood borne viruses (hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV).

Why didn't I receive a letter?

Unfortunately NSW Health does not have records for all of Dr Dinh’s patients. Therefore, as a precaution, NSW is recommending that anyone treated by Dr Dinh at any of his three Bankstown practices who thinks that they may have had an invasive procedure visit their doctor to discuss testing for blood borne viruses.

What is being done to prevent this happening with this or other dental practitioners?

The Dental Council of NSW suspended Dr Dinh’s registration in July 2016.

In July 2015 The Dental Council of NSW, in partnership with the Dental Board of Australia, issued a letter to every registered dental practitioner in Australia to remind them of their legal obligations and actions to ensure they are compliant with national guidelines on infection control.

The Board published a fact sheet which outlines the infection control obligations of dental practitioners, and what members of the public can do to ensure they receive safe care.

The Council has published its Infection Control Checklist used by the Council in conducting inspections of dental surgeries. The Council has made the tool available to the profession to facilitate transparency in the Council’s assessment and inspection processes.

The Dental Council established an infection control working group to proactively manage infection control issues. The Dental Council is continuing to work with stakeholders, to review and strengthen the infection control framework within NSW.

Is the dental clinic still operating?

No, Dr Dinh has closed the clinic. He was the only dental practitioner working at the clinic, and is no longer practising as a dentist following the suspension of his registration.

What are the diseases I could have been exposed to?

Poor dental infection control practices could cause an infection from bacteria, viruses or other organisms in the mouth. 

There is also a low risk that a patient who had an invasive procedure at this clinic may have been exposed to a blood borne virus potentially passed on via a dental instrument from another patient who was already infected.  The blood borne viruses patients should be tested for are hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus and HIV.

How will I know if I have these diseases?

Bacterial infections would generally have caused infection in the mouth and have become evident with pain and/or swelling within a few days to a week of the visit to the dentist. No special test is required for these infections if you have no symptoms. 

Blood borne viruses may not cause symptoms at the time of infection or for years afterwards.  However infections with these viruses can easily be detected by a blood test.

What are the chances I will have got one of these diseases at Dr Dinh's dental practice?

The risk of someone who had an invasive procedure where dental instruments go into the gums getting a blood borne virus at the clinic is low. The risk may be higher if a person had multiple invasive procedures at the clinic.

People who have not had an invasive procedure that involves instruments going into the gums (e.g. simple examination or fitting of dentures) will have negligible risk of having caught a blood borne virus infection at the clinics.

As of 17 October 2016 NSW health are not aware of any instances of BBVs being transmitted as a result of unsafe practices used by this dentist.

How else could I have got one of these diseases? 

There are a number of different ways in which blood borne viruses (hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV) can spread between people, including via sex, from mother to child at birth and from contaminated instruments that pierce the skin. 

Most people with chronic hepatitis B got their infection at birth or in early childhood from their mother or other family member.

Some countries have a higher rate of hepatitis B in the population than other countries; in particular many people are infected in countries in South East Asia including Vietnam.

Some countries also have high rates of hepatitis C and HIV. People from such countries may already have one of these infections without knowing that they are infected. It is recommended that people who are from these countries are tested so any infection can be treated appropriately.

What should I do if I think I have had an invasive procedure?

 For Patients at Liberty Plaza

  •  Patients for whom contact details were available have been sent a letter to inform them of their low risk of a blood borne virus infection and recommending that they see their doctor for testing.
  • We are unable to say whether the available records include all patients seen by Dr Dinh at his Liberty Plaza Practice, or whether all the procedures they had were recorded.

Therefore, as a precaution, NSW is recommending that anyone seen by Dr Dinh at Liberty Plaza who thinks that they may have had an invasive procedure to see their doctor to discuss testing for blood borne viruses.

For patients at Chapel Road or Fetherstone street, or if they are unsure where they saw Dr Dinh

  • Unfortunately there are no records available for patients who may have seen Dr Dinh at his Chapel Rd. or Fetherstone St. practices.
  • Therefore, as a precaution, NSW is recommending that anyone seen by Dr Dinh at either of these practices who think that they may have had an invasive procedure to see their doctor to discuss testing for blood borne viruses.
  • We recommend that people who have had at least one invasive procedure are tested for blood borne virus infections.

People who are unsure whether or not they had an invasive procedure, or where they saw Dr Dinh, should see their doctor to discuss testing for blood borne viruses (hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV).

How do I know if I have had an invasive procedure?

Invasive procedures include oral surgery, such as implant or removal of teeth, or procedures involving work on the gums or diseased or injured teeth where instruments may be in contact with a gum (or tooth) with an open wound, e.g. root canal therapy.

Unfortunately NSW Health does not have records for all of Dr Dinh’s patients. Therefore, as a precaution, NSW Health is recommending that anyone treated by Dr Dinh at any of his three Bankstown practices who thinks that they may have had an invasive procedure visit their doctor to discuss testing for blood borne viruses, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

  • NSW Health recommends that people who have had at least one invasive procedure are tested for blood borne virus infections.
  • If you are unsure whether or not you had an invasive procedure, NSW Health recommend you see your doctor to discuss testing for blood borne viruses (hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV).

I already have one of these diseases - who can I talk to about this?

Talk to your doctor about monitoring and management of your disease.

I wish to make a complaint against a health practitioner - who can I talk to?

If you are a member of the public or a registered health practitioner in NSW and you want to make a complaint or raise a concern about a registered health practitioner or student in NSW, contact:

The Health Care Commission phone line operates from 9am to 5pm on weekdays and can provide advice on how to make a complaint.

For the hearing impaired, please contact TYY service for on (02) 9219 7555.

What tests do I need to have?

Your doctor can organise blood tests for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV infection. 

How soon will I know the results of the tests?

Your doctor will advise you when the results of the tests will be available.  It is likely that results will be available in less than 7-10 days.

Will I have to pay for seeing my doctor and having these blood tests?

You should use your usual arrangements to see your doctor visit and get the blood tests – usual Medicare or private health care rebates apply.

Should I have the tests even if I attended Dr Dinh's practice and didn’t have an invasive procedure?

That is your decision, in consultation with your doctor.

NSW Health advises that it’s beneficial for everyone to know whether or not they are infected with these viruses as there is now effective treatment available to prevent long-term complications. Many people, particularly those born in overseas countries may already have one of these infections without being aware of their status.

What should I do if I have a positive test result?

You should talk to your doctor about your results.

What does it mean if I have a positive test result?

There are many ways in which people can get infected with hepatitis B and C viruses and HIV. A positive result means that you have been infected with a blood borne virus sometime in the past.  For hepatitis B and hepatitis C, you may have cleared the virus by yourself, or you may have a long term (chronic) infection.  Your doctor will tell you whether or not your infection is active now.  HIV infection is a lifelong infection.

If you have recently been infected with one of these viruses, your doctor should report it to the local public health unit, which can assist to investigate possible sources of your infection.

More information on infection with blood borne viruses is available from the NSW Health Infectious Disease Fact sheets page.

Fact sheets in other languages are available at the fact sheets in other languages are available at the Multicultural HIV and Hepatitis Service

Is there any evidence that patients have been infected as a result of these problems with infection control?

As of 17 October 2016 NSW Health is not aware that any patients of Dr Dinh have acquired infection at his dental practices.

Where can I find further information?

Further information can be found at NSW Health website or contact your local public health unit on 1300 066 055.

More information on infection with blood borne viruses is available from the NSW Health Infectious Disease Fact sheets page.

Fact sheets in other languages are available at the fact sheets in other languages are available at the Multicultural HIV and Hepatitis Service.

Why wasn’t this picked up earlier

The Dental Council has the responsibility to deal with complaints about the conduct, professional performance, health and competence (fitness to practise) of any dental practitioner employed in New South Wales and any dental student. The Dental Council has the power to authorise an inspection of the dental practice  following a complaint about a dental practitioner

Dental practitioners must comply with the Dental Board of Australia’s ‘Guidelines on infection control available on the Board’s website at www.dentalboard.gov.au. These guidelines set out how dental practitioners can prevent or minimise the risk of the spread of infectious diseases in dental practice.

Information on the role of the Dental Council can be found on their website www.dentalcouncil.nsw.gov.au or alternatively contacted on 1300197177 or mail@dentalcouncil.nsw.gov.au.

How do I know if other dental practitioners are safe? 

The Dental Board of Australia has published tips for patients, including a video which highlights questions to ask your dental practitioner and things to check when you visit your dental clinic. If you have concerns about a particular practitioner you can check their registration status on the national register.

 

Page Updated: Monday 17 October 2016