As workers of the medical field, there have been new guidelines and regulations that have been brought to light during COVID-19. A fairly trivial topic before this pandemic, aerosol particles have become something to fear in regards to COVID-19. In this article, we will be discussing how dental practices can prevent aerosols during treatment so you can reduce cross-contamination.
How can we deal with dental aerosols?
As a result of working primarily in the mouths of patients, dentists tend to be exposed to viruses. With the use of rotary instruments like ultrasonic scalers, air-driven polishers, etc, aerosol particles are constantly exposed to you. To prevent becoming infected, here are methods of air treatment and products that have surfaced as a result.
This is a method a lot of dentists use when caring for patients. Primarily, this method uses a type of extraoral suction unit. The suction unit takes in the contaminated air, treats/purify that air using multi-stage filtration and disinfection, then finally release that air back outside.
There are many different types of these dental suction units with different technologies for filtration and sterilization. To determine whether or not that machine is good for your office, follow this quick guideline:
- Air watts is the best indicator of an extraoral suction system’s power capability because it factors in resistance to suction. If a system shows anything with more than 1000 air watts, it is a good indicator of the power needed for a suction unit.
- An extraoral suction unit with a decibel level in the 60-65 dB range will be reasonably quiet. A system with a decibel level in the 70s is about the same as the sound generated by a kitchen garbage disposal.
- An aspirator performance of at least 3000 L/min can result in efficiently reducing the risk of infection.
- The most common type of filter in these systems is HEPA. Some other suction systems on the market also use activated carbon.
- Most extraoral dental suction system use plasma or/and UV-C disinfectant as their sterilizers.
Click to read our full buying guide. Air purifiers are another great solutions for infection control for the dental office. They come in a variety of sizes that cover different ranges of area.
Another method of disinfection is killing the free-flowing particles and microbes that are attached to dust, hairs, clothes, etc. Through a method of releasing aerosolized chemicals like Hypochlorous Acid into the air through an electrostatic sprayer. The sprayer positively charges the hypochlorous solution that exits the sprayer. To generate a charge within the droplets that force them to repel. This results in the droplets actively seeking to attach to any surface. When found, they coat and attach to surfaces which are then disinfected.
Combining the methods
Of course, there hasn’t been a found method of approach that can completely mitigate the threats. However, by practicing these methods, you can mitigate a majority of the dangers of catching the virus. To maximize your safety measures, you will have to pair the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), oral suction units, as well as a surface disinfectant, together.
Here is our video demonstrating the correct procedure for putting on your personal protective equipment.
Tips for Maintaining Equipment
Generally, most well-kept equipment is best preserved when covering it up with barriers. However, since a majority of the equipment you will be using doesn’t touch most of the potent disinfectants that have high ethyl alcohol, it allows for the preservation of your equipment.
Many different procedures need to take place to prevent infection control within your dental practice. It is best to handle the invisible aerosol with the utmost caution. With these tips in mind, do not limit yourself. When it comes to safety. Ensure the safety of both your staff and the patients first.
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