Patients of a Pennsylvanian dentist are urged to get tested for HIV or hepatitis

Ra'eesah Manack
Nov 07, 2018
03:18 P.M.
Share this pen

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is urging former patients of a closed Berks County dental practice to get tested for hepatitis and HIV.


The Department of Health shut the place down at the end of last year for unsanitary practices. It was discovered that the practice was not sterilizing their equipment sufficiently between patients.

It was also found that they were not adequately cleaning or disinfecting implements and the offices. The unsanitary conditions patients of the practice are at risk of infection.


The Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Department of State issued a warning on Tuesday about the dentist Palmer Cotturo of Cotturo Dental Associates. He was ordered to shut down his practice in August due to the sanitation issues.

Both departments urged patients to test for Hepatitis and HIV after their findings when they inspected the Cotturo Dental Associates practice. The results were disturbing and broke the required cleanliness protocols.


During a surprise inspection, it was found that used needles were not disposed of adequately and the offices were uncleaned. It was discovered that the practice did not follow the necessary steps to cleanse, disinfect and sterilize implements.

Cotturo denies the claims, saying the surprise investigation visit occurred on a day he did not see patients. He argued that the correct cleaning steps would be implemented before he saw patients the next day.


"I would never compromise the health and safety of any of my patients," Cotturo wrote, "I would never expose any of my patients to an unsafe environment."

The Department of Health has requested that any patient who had visited the practice and had dental procedures performed at the practice between January 2007 and Sept. 14, 2018, should be tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. 


Regardless of his excuses, Cotturo was forced to surrender his license to the state department on Sept. 14. His practice, website and phone number are no longer active in any capacity.


In a related story, a dental practice in Bern Township near Reading was shut down. It was discovered that they were not effectively sanitizing devices between uses.

aThe practice was shut down in October and patients were instructed to get tested for Hepatitis and HIV.