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    Data breach at Mass. General involves 4,300 dental patients

    A data breach at Massachusetts General Hospital has exposed the personal information of about 4,300 dental patients, the hospital said Wednesday.

    Unauthorized people were able to access patients’ names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, and information about their dental appointments.

    The information was stored through Patterson Dental Supply Inc., a software vendor that helps manage dental practice information at Mass. General. The hospital said it learned in February that “an unauthorized individual gained access to electronic files.” Mass. General did not notify patients right away because law enforcement officials asked the hospital to withhold notice while they investigated, the hospital said.

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    Patterson Dental Supply has taken steps to enhance security following the breach, the hospital said.

    Patient information has been breached or mistakenly exposed at other hospitals over the past few years, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, and St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center.

    Priyanka Dayal McCluskey can be reached at priyanka.mccluskey@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @priyanka_dayal.