Dental treatment as a risk factor for hepatitis B and C viral infection. A review of the recent literature

Nima Mahboobi, Stephen R. Porter, Peter Karayiannis, Seyed Moayed Alavian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background & Aim: Patients chronically infected either with hepatitis B (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) are at increased risk of developing cirrhosis, end stage liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma. Different risk factors were found to be associated with the transmission of these viruses in various settings. HBV and HCV transmission seems to be also acquired by n on-parenteral and non-sexual routes. A large number of patients infected with HCV might have non identifiable routes of viral acquisition. Hence, viral hepatitis transmission risk factors identification is the main way to reduce infection. Dental treatment may be one of such risk factors, and this aspect is addressed in the present literature review, drawing information from existing literature. Methods: An online database search was conducted, limited to publications from January 1999 to February 2012 on specific aspects of HBV and HCV infection, including articles on risk factors, markers of infection, dentistry, epidemiology and transmission. Relevant material was evaluated and reviewed. Results: Overall, 53 studies which met the selection criteria were evaluated. Although these studies were from different geographical regions of varied socioeconomic status and study populations and assessed different dental procedures, using different types of statistical analysis, we found that, although weak, there is an all-time risk of HBV and HCV infection during dental treatment. This is more important in developing countries where the rate of hepatitis infected individuals is higher. There is a need for more studies on this subject, properly planned, controlled and analyzed. Conclusion: Dental treatment can be included among the risk factors of HBV and HCV infection. This risk can easily be eliminated using standard precautionary measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Dental treatment
  • Dentist
  • Hepatitis B virus (HBV)
  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV)
  • Review
  • Risk factor


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