Dentists diagnosed with lung disease, with unsuspected reason

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It is not known whether this behavior was a pattern with others that had the disease. Of the 900 patients analyzed for around twenty years, the CDC found that eight dentists and one dental technician - all of whom were men - had IPF.

The disease is often fatal: Of the nine cases, seven have died, the report said.

Although the number of nine patients may not seem a lot - it is just 1 percent of all.

The investigation took place after a dentist, who was diagnosed with IPF, reported the alarming pattern found at the Virginia Care Center to the CDC.

CDC stated that, "A questionnaire was administered to one of the living patients, who reported polishing dental appliances and preparing amalgams and impressions without respiratory protection". Some of the chemicals used in these processes are potentially toxic to the respiratory system, the CDC reported. Furthermore, according to the CDC "although IPF has been associated with certain occupations, no published data exist regarding IPF in dentists".

Nett concluded: 'At this time, we do not know what caused this cluster of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis cases in dental personnel'.

Dentists experience inhalation exposures that can elevate their risk toward some respiratory diseases related to occupation. The lung tissues get thickened over a certain time period, making it hard to get the required amount of oxygen to the important organs such as brain and heart. It causes progressive and irreversible lung scarring for reasons that are still poorly understood. Going in depth, once the patient has been diagnosed with this disease, there is hardly three to five year of survival chances.

While the doctors can not find what caused the scarring condition to the cluster of dentists, some experts have suggested viral infections, cigarette smoking, and occupations where exposure to dust, wood dust, and metal dust are common, as the contributing factors to IPF.

Symptoms of IPF include shortness of breath, a dry, chronic cough, weight loss, joint and muscle pain and clubbed fingers or toes.

Chief Policy Officer at the Pediatric Oral Health & Research Center of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Paul Casamassimo is not surprised after knowing the report. he said in a statement that, "We do work with materials and with human bioproducts that are potentially damaging to our bodies if we inhale them".