An investigation has begun after drain cleaning fluid was used instead of an approved dental product during treatment of up to 43 children at a clinic in Ennis, Co Clare, Republic of Ireland. It is believed the drain cleaner product used was potassium hydroxide, at a low concentration of 5 per cent. The product is used in many disinfectants.
The Health Service Executive (HSE), which has started the review, said it is taking all necessary steps to ensure 43 children believed to have undergone treatment there are contacted, supported and that their families have all necessary information. Five dental surgeries at the facility have been closed in the meantime.
It appears drain cleaning fluid, rather than dental product, was mixed with water for the treatment of patients. The fluid then ran through instruments used during treatments such as teeth cleaning. A HSE spokesman said: “This is so regrettable and unfortunate. I want to apologise for any concern or upset caused to the children and their families.”
He said it appeared, though it was yet to be confirmed, that a drain cleaning product was mixed with water used to sterilise instruments during treatment, when normally the water would be mixed with an approved dental product. The drain cleaner seemed to have “got misplaced with or confused with another product”, he said, “One of the clinical staff became concerned at the reaction of a child in the chair to the instruments. They reported it and we did further checking,”.