Viral threat in the dentist’s work

Review Article, Zdr Publ 2012;122(1): 85-89


1 Department of Virology, Medical University of Lublin
2 Chair and Department of Histology and Embriology with Unit of Experimental Cytology, Medical University of Lublin


Dentists are a professional group that is extremely exposed to viral infections. It results from the specificity of their work; dentists operate with sharp and rotary tools, work in respiratory paths in direct contact with patients and water-air spray is created during many operations. In dentistry, pathologic microorganisms can be spread in a number of ways. While analyzing viral threat to dental crew, hospital infections must be taken into consideration. Dental operating rooms may be a potential place where viral infection can spread from patients to personnel, from personnel to patients or between patients.
The issue in question is extremely up-to-date and the number of lawsuits on account of infections and amounts of damages is on the rise. The proportion of claims about dental operating rooms makes 6.3% of the total of claims in Poland.
Basing on the above assumptions, the constant education of dental staff about the prevention of viral infections and the rise of the awareness about of the issue are needed. There arenumerous viruses that can pose a threat to dental staff. Some of them are frequently described and certainly well-known; in this article, some of them will be described; those which are relevant to the number of illnesses and the weight of consequences, and those which are perhaps less often, in dentists mind-sets, connected to dental procedures. In this article we analyzed the role of hepatitis B and C viruses, some of herpesviruses, influenza virus, HPV, TTV and BK virus.

Files to download


viruses, dentistry, viral infection


  1. Weremko M, Polz D, Polz-Dacewicz M. Kontrola zakażeń w gabinecie stomatologicznym. Mag Stom. 2006;16(6):92-4.
  2. Podgórska M, Jakimiak B, Röhm-Rodowald, Chojecka A. Ocena prawidłowości procesów dezynfekcji i sterylizacji w wybranych gabinetach stomatologicznych jako istotnych elementów zapobiegania zakażeniom. Przegl Epidemiol. 2009,63:545-50.
  3. CDC Guidelines for Infection Control In Dental Health-Care-Settings. 2003.
  4. Szymańska J. Microbiological risk factors in dentistry. Current status of knowledge. Ann Agric Environ Med. 2005;12:157-63.
  5. Samaranayake LP, Jones BM, Łuczak M. W: Podstawy mikrobiologii dla stomatologów. Warszawa: Wyd. Lekarskie PZWL; 2002. p. 218.
  6. Abdo A, Lee S. Management of hepatitis C virus genotype 4. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2004;19:1233-9.
  7. Alter HJ, Klein HG. The hazards of blood transfusion in historical perspective. Blood. 2008;112(7):2617-26.
  8. Zagożdżon P, Parszuto J, Raj A, Całus-Kania D, Korczak A, Ejsmont J. Częstość występowania i czynniki ryzyka zakażenia HCV wśród pracowników ochrony zdrowia w województwie pomorskim. Przegl Epidemiol. 2009;63:39-43.
  9. Baldo V, Baldovin T, Trivello R, Floreani A. Epidemiology of HCV infection. Curr Pharm Des. 2008;14(17):1646-54.
  10. Alter M. Epidemiology of hepatitis C infection. World J Gastroenterol. 2007;13(17): 2436-41.
  11. Simmonds P. The origin and evolution of hepatitis viruses in humans. J Gen Virol. 2001;82(4):693-713.
  12. Artini M, Scoranighi GL, Papa R, Dolci G, DeLuca M, Orsini G, Pappalardo S, Costerton JW, Selon L. Specific anti cross-infection measures may help to prevent viral contamination of dental unit waterlines: a pilot study. Infection. 2008;36(5):467-71.
  13. Polz D, Weremko M, Polz-Dacewicz M. Rola zakażeń wirusowych w stomatologii. (Role of viral infection in dentistry). Mag Stom. 2007;17(1):38-9.
  14. Janowski R, Polz D, Polz-Dacewicz, Stec A, Modrzewska R. HCV detection in saliva among patients with chronic hepatitis C. Ann UMCS Sect DDD. 2008;21(2):21-4.
  15. Bagg J, McFarlane W, Poxton IR, Smith JA, Bagg S. In: Essentials of microbiology for dental studies. 2nd edition. Oxford University Press; 2006. p. 308.
  16. Kumar S, Atray D, Paiwal D, Balasubramanyam G, Diraiswamy P, Kulkarni S. Dental unit waterlines: source of contamination and cross-infection. J Hosp Infect. 2010;74(2):99-111.
  17. McMahon J, Simm M, Milano D, Clatts M. Detection of hepatitis C virus in the nasal secretions of an intanasal drug-users. Ann Clin Microbiol Antimicrobials. 2004,3:6 doi:10.1186/1476-0711-3-6.
  18. Jabłońska J. Pozawątrobowe objawy zakażenia HCV. W: Hepatologia. Kompedium. Medical Tribune Group. 2004. p. 75.
  19. Jabłońska J. Pozawątrobowe objawy zakażenia HCV-obserwacje klinicysty. Przegl Epidemiol. 2008;62:513-4.
  20. Madaliński K, Godzik P, Zimmermann-Górska I, Puszczewicz M, Dzierżanowska-Fangrat K, Jabłońska J, Żeromski J. Anty-HCV i HCV RNA u chorych z pierwotnym zespołem Sjögrena. Przegl Epidemiol. 2009;63:299-304.
  21. Nagao Y, Hanada S, Shishido S, Ide T, Kumashiro R, Ueno T, Sata M. Incidence of Sjörgen’s syndrome in Japanese patients with hepatitis C virus infection. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2003;18(3):258-66.
  22. Romero MA, Seoane J, Varella-Centelles P, Diz-Dios P, Otero XL. Clinical and pathological characteristics of oral lichen in hepatitis C-positive and negative patients. Clin Otolaryngol Allied Sci. 2002;27(1):122-6.
  23. Heiberg IL, Hoegh M, Ladelund S, Niesters HG, Hogh B. Hepatitis B virus DNA in saliva from children with chronic hepatitis B infection: implications for saliva as a potential mode of horizontal transmission. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2010;29(5):465-567.
  24. Thierfelder W, Meisel H, Schreier E, Dortschy R. Prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses in German population. Gesundheitswesen. 1999;61:110-4.
  25. Deny P, Zoulim F. Hepatitis B virus: From diagnosis to treatment. Pathol Biol. 2010;58(4)245-3.
  26. Kidd-Ljunggren K, Holmberg A, Bläckberg J, Lindqvist B. High levels of hepatitis B virus DNA in body fluids from chronic carriers. J Hosp Infect. 2006;64(4):352-7.
  27. Hui AY, Hung L, Tse P, Wai-Keung L, Chan P, Henry Chan H. Transmission of hepatitis B by human bite--confirmation by detection of virus in saliva and full genome sequencing. J Clin Virol. 2005;33(3):254-6.
  28. Hyland PL, Coulter WA, Abu-Ruman J, Fulton CR, O’Neil HJ, Coyle PV. Lamely PJ. Asymptomatic shedding of HSC-1 in patients undergoing oral surgical procedures and attending from noninvasive treatment. Oral Dis. 2007;13(4)414-8.
  29. Saygun I, Kubar A, Ozdemir A, Yapar M, Slots J. Herpesviral-bacterial interrelationships in aggressive periodontitis. J Periodontal Res. 2004;39(4):207-12.
  30. Slots J. Herpesviruses in periodontal diseases. Periodontology. 2005;38(1):33-62.
  31. Slots J, Saygun I, Sabeti M, Kubar A. Epstein-Barr virus in oral diseases. J Periodontal Res. 2006;41(4):235-44.
  32. Grinde B, Olsen I. The role of viruses in oral diseases. J Oral Microbiol. 2010, doi:10.3402/jom.v2i0.212.
  33. Wnukiewicz J. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) in oral leucoplakia – diagnostic implications. Dent Med Probl. 2004;41(4):643-6.
  34. Sahin S, Saygun S, Kubar A, Slots J. Periodontitis lesions are main source of salivary cytomegalovirus. Oral Microbiol Immunol. 2009;24(4):340-2.
  35. Tantivanich S, Laohapand P, Thaweeboon S, Desakorn V, Wuthinuntiwong P, Chalermtaranukul S, Pansri P, Amarapal P, Balachandra K, Chantratita W, Dhepakson P. Prevalence of cytomegalovirus, human herpevirus-6 and Epstein-Barr virus in periodontitis patients and healthy subjects in the Thai population. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2004;35(3):635-40
  36. Machała MK, Brydak LB. Grypa w różnych aspektach. Część II – Epidemiologia i nadzór nad grypą oraz profilaktyka. Pol Merkur Lekarski. 2006;21(123):277-85.
  37. Machała MK, Brydak LB. Grypa w różnych aspektach. Część I – Budowa, replikacja i zmienność wirusów grypy oraz przebieg kliniczny choroby, odpowiedź immunologiczna i diagnostyka laboratoryjna. Pol Merkur Lekarski. 2006;21(123):270-6.
  38. Romanowska M, Czarkowska MP, Nowak J, Staszewska E, Donevski S, Brydak LB. Grypa w Polsce w 2008 roku. Przegl Epidemiol. 2010;64:175-9.
  39. Chaudhary V, Singh RK, Agrawal VK, Kumar R, Sharma M. Awareness, perception, and myths towards swine flu in school children Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh. Indian J Public Health. 2010;54(3):161-4.
  40. Guan Y, Vijaykrishna D, Bahl J, Zhu H. The emergence of pandemic influenza viruses. Protein and Cell. 2010;191:9-13.
  41. Li XH, Tian HD, Heiner M, Li DM. Global occurrence and spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus of the subtype H5N1. Avian Dis. 2011;55(1):21-8.
  42. Brydak LB. Zagrożenia zdrowotne związane z wirusem ptasiej grypy. Wiad Parazytol. 2007;53(2):81-84.
  43. Wiwanitkit V. What should the dentist be concerned about in the scenario of emerging swine flu. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent. 2009;27(4):263.
  44. Hafkamp HC, Manni J, Speel E. Role of human papillomavirus in development of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Acta Otolaryngol. 2004;124(4):520-6.
  45. Smith EM, Swarnavel S, Ritchie JM, Wang D, Haugen TH, Turek LP. Prevalence of human papillomavirus in the oral cavity/oropharynx in a large population of children and adolescents. Pediat Infect Dis J. 2007;26(9):836-40.
  46. Syrjanen S. Current concept on human papillomavirus infection in children. APMIS. 2010;118(6-7):494-509.
  47. World Health Organization. 2007. Human papillomavirus and HPV vaccines: technical information for policy-markers and health professionals. Initiative for vaccine Research Department of Immunization. Vaccines and Biologicals. WHO, report
  48. Montaldo C, Mastinu A, Quartuccio M, Piras V, Denotti G, Pisano E, Orru G. Detection and genotyping of human papillomavirus DNA in samples from healthy Sardinian patients: a preliminary study. J Oral Pathol Med. 2007;36(8):482-7.
  49. Okamoto H. History of discoveries and pathogenicity of TT viruses. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2009;331:1-20.
  50. Kasiraga E, Sanlidag T, Akçali S, Keskin S, Aktas E, Karakoç Z, Helvaci M, Sözen G, Kuzuet M. Clinical significance of TT virus infection in children with chronic hepatitis B. Pediatrics International. 2005;47(3):300-4.
  51. Liwień I, Januszkiewicz-Lewandowska D, Nowak J. Właściwości, występowanie i drogi przenoszenia wirusa TT. Przegl Epidemiol. 2002;56:91-11.
  52. Weremko M, Kołodziej S, Polz-Dacewicz M. Incidence of infection with TT virus in patients with periodontal disease. Ann UMCS Sect DDD. 2008;21(2):69-72.
  53. Cimbaluk D, Pitelka L, Kluskens L, Gattuso P. Update on human paliomavirus BK nepharopathy. Diagn Cytopatholo. 2009;37(10):773-9
  54. Jeffers L, Madden V, Webster-Cyrianque J. BK virus has tropism for human salivary gland cells in vitro: Implications for transmission. Virology. 2009;394(2):183-93.
  55. Chatzoudi M. Handling post-dental extraction patients: how to avoid trans-infection of blond-borne diseases. J Oral Maxillofacial Surg. 2009;67(12):2583-6.
  56. Millership SE, Cummins AJ, Irwin DJ. Infection control failures in a dental surgery – dilemmas in incident management. J Public Health. 2007;29:303-7.
  57. Lazenby MG. Blood-borne viruses: are we taking them seriously? A survey of UK oral and maxillofacial surgeons. Br J Oral Maxillofacial Surg. 2010,49(5):400-3.


October 2023

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
02 03 04 05 06 07 08
09 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31