SACRAMENTO – Legislation by Assemblymember Tom Daly (D – Anaheim) to standardize practices designed to protect dental patients from potentially serious infections cleared its first hurdle last week in the State Capitol.
The Assembly Committee on Business Professions voted 15-0 on April 18 to approve Daly’s AB 1277. The bill requires the Dental Board of California to adopt new regulations to ensure that the water being used to perform certain invasive procedures on patients is free of potentially infectious agents.
The bill next moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which will hear the bill on May 3.
Daly introduced AB 1277 in response to the dozens of reported cases of young children requiring hospitalization after being treated last year at a dental clinic in Anaheim. The children were exposed to Mycobacterium abscessus after undergoing pulpotomies, often referred to as “baby root canals.”
AB 1277 requires the Dental Board to amend its existing regulations on minimum standards for infection control to require water, or other methods used for irrigation, to be sterile or contain recognized disinfecting or antibacterial properties when performing procedures that expose dental pulp. Daly’s bill requires the updated regulations to be consistent with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for procedural water quality.
Daly noted that the use of sterile water during procedures in which the dental pulp is exposed is already standard practice for many practitioners. In fact, the language in AB 1277 has been crafted with the assistance of the California Dental Association.
“The fact that dozens of young children have suffered serious infections after being treated at a dental clinic in my district is inexcusable,” Daly said. “AB 1277 will ensure that additional outbreaks like this one – which are rare – will never happen again.”
In a letter to members of the Assembly committee which approved AB 1277 last week, the Dental Association stated that Daly’s bill "addresses a weakness identified when 67 children were hospitalized with serious infections after receiving dental treatment at a dental clinic in Anaheim. Investigation into what occurred suggests that the bacterium that infected the children was likely introduced by water used during the performance of a dental procedure that exposed the dental pulp."
CONTACT: David Miller, (916) 319-2069