A Sheffield public health expert has called for calm following the launch of the NHS’s biggest-ever patient recall, involving 22,000 people treated by a single dentist.
The health service wants to trace people treated by dentist Dr Desmond D’Mello, who is suspected of not following proper hygiene procedures, putting patients at risk of infection.
Patients of Dr D’Mello who respond to the appeal will be tested for blood-borne viruses such as HIV and hepatitis.
The dentist - who worked at the Daybrook Dental Practice in Nottinghamshire for 32 years - was suspended in June.
A whistleblower secretly filmed him using the same instruments for more than one patient without sterilising them, as well as failing to wash his hands and change gloves.
But Dr Andrew Lee, from Sheffield University’s school of health and related research, said the risk to most people would be ‘quite low’.
“I think it is important that the public maintains a degree of perspective here about the real actual risk posed to them,” he said.
“It is easy to conflate our fears about visiting the dentist with these isolated incidents of poor practice.
“There is a very small cohort of patients who have had a more major dental procedure where the risk is potentially higher, so presumably they are the group of greater concern.”
n A hotline has been set up for affected patients. Call 03330 142 479.