Tennessee Dentist Fails to Sterilize Equipment, Patients Urged to Get HIV Tests

Dentist Hands and Tools
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Officials are urging patients of one Tennessee dentist to get tested for HIV and hepatitis after the dentist failed to sterilize dental equipment before dental procedures properly.

Dr. Clarence “Buzz” Nabers, a dentist based out of Knoxville, Tennessee, was fined $11,000 by the Tennessee Board of Dentistry and was placed on probation after an investigation revealed that he did not properly sterilize dental tools before using them on patients.

The investigation also discovered that Nabers had “unqualified” employees perform dental tasks meant for full-fledged dentists such as filling cavities and that he forged certification documents, the Knoxville News-Sentinel reported.

Nabers has said that he has put protocols into place to ensure those mistakes would not happen.

The Tennessean reported that Karla Kovalchik, a dental hygienist at one of Nabers’ offices, filed a whistleblower complaint with the state about staff performing dental procedures outside their professional scope between July 208 to October 2018, when the practice was short a dentist.

She was then eventually forced out of her position.

The Tennessee Department of Health recommended that patients get tested. Nabers also sent a letter to patients who visited his practice between September 15, 2016, and September 15, 2019, recommending that they get tested.

The letter stated that the chance of being exposed to disease is “very remote” and that there were no reports of illness.

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