With some dental professionals under investigation, How to spot a dirty dentist

In March 2013, thousands of residents in Oklahoma began living a real life nightmare after learning a Tulsa dentist put their health at risk.

"I [was] just tested for Hepatitis C," a former patient of Dr. Scott Harrington, Linda Harris, said during an interview with NBC News.

A 17 count indictment alleges that Harrington and his staff also put nearly 7,000 of the dentist's patients at risk of getting HIV.

Harrington's office now stands accused of re-using needles and using rusty equipment, amongst other charges.

"Every patient assumes when they enter a dental office that things are being done per the standard and the law and unfortunately in this situation, that was not the case," Kaitlin Snider of the Tulsa Health Department told NBC News.

But Dr. Mark Becker, who practices dentistry in Holland, Ohio, says that patients should be skeptical of a dentist's sanitary practices.

"As a consumer I find it very difficult to know if things are clean, " Becker said.

Both Ohio and Michigan do have state dental boards that regulate the industry.

Each offers online access to a dentist's license status, which will show if any legal action has been taken against them, but provides little other information.

"They do the best job they can. They are trying to keep everyone safe and clean, but it's impossible," Becker added.

Ohio's 6 dental board investigators looked into 473 complaints and did another 596 more random inspections in 2012, but overseeing nearly 30,000 workers makes it difficult for the board to make yearly stops at any dental office.

The Ohio State Dental Board's Executive Director, Lili C. Reitz, says a dentist office will only be visited "once every two to 3 years".

Michigan's Board of Dentistry does not do random checks of dentist offices and only starts an investigation once a dentist has received a complaint.

In essence, a consumers input and interaction are key in keeping all patients safe at the dentist's office. ã??

Dr. Becker recommends making sure you are "seeing things being unwrapped in front of you're making sure that hands are washed" and making sure you ask questions about an offices' cleaning practices.