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Dental Aerosols Extraction

In the dental industry, dental aerosol produced from dental instruments can create indoor air quality concerns possibly leading to respiratory infections and disease transmission. Dental aerosol can remain airborne and land on nearby surfaces leading to possible inhalation or direct contact of bacteria and pathogens. In order to protect the respiratory health of dentists, dental assistants, and patients, offices must implement infection control procedures to minimize dental aerosol clouds.

What is Dental Aerosol

Dental aerosol is created from the use of compressed air and water in dental tools forming a suspension of solid and liquid particles in a gas. Dental instruments that can create dental aerosol include low-speed and high-speed handpieces, lasers, electrosurgery units, ultrasonic scalers, and air polishers. Ultrasonic scalers and high-speed handpieces generate much higher levels of dental aerosol than other tools. Dental aerosol can be composed of water, saliva, plaque, microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungus, viruses, and protozoa), and metabolites (such as endotoxins and toxins). Over 700 microbial species can be found within the human mouth with the type and severity dependent on the patient’s age, tooth eruption, tooth loss, disease status, and/or drug use.

Dental aerosol can be classified as 3 different sizes:

  • Splatter - Splatter is dental aerosol larger than 50 microns that easily falls and contaminates countertops, floors, and other surfaces in a dental office.
  • Droplets – Droplets are dental aerosol smaller than 50 microns that can be airborne and evaporate to form droplet nuclei.
  • Droplet Nuclei - Droplet nuclei are smaller than 10 microns, can reach up to3 feet away from the procedure, stay airborne for 30 minutes, and penetrate deep within the lungs. 90% of dental aerosol is smaller than 5 microns.

Health Risks of Dental Aerosol

Inhalation or direct contact of dental aerosol can lead to the development of respiratory infections and diseases. The exact makeup and risk of exposure to dental aerosol cannot be measured due to the vast differences from patient to patient. Dental aerosol has been shown to cause airborne bacteria levels to increase by up to four times.

Exposure of dental aerosol can cause nasal congestion, headaches, asthmatic episodes, and respiratory infections and illnesses. Possible respiratory infections and illnesses include the cold, influenza, sinusitis, pharyngitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, legionaries disease, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and various strains of coronavirus.

Methods to Minimize Dental Aerosol

Dental professionals must assume that all patients can be infectious or carriers of disease and take as many safety precautions as possible to protect the safety of dental staff and other patients. Air quality should be checked periodically to ensure proper containment methods. The best way to minimize dental aerosol is utilizing a layered prevention approach with multiple protections. The CDC recommends specific procedures to minimize airborne dental aerosol in the Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Healthcare Settings.

  • Professional Protection Equipment (PPE) – PPE provides the first layer ofprotection for dental professionals including gloves, surgical masks, eyewear, and gowns. Respirators need to be used for known infectious patients.
  • Antimicrobial Mouth Rinse - The second layer of protection is having the patient use an antimicrobial mouth rinse before the procedure.
  • High Velocity Air Evacuation (HVE) – The third layer of protection, the HVE, reduces airborne dental aerosol by up to 90%.
  • Air Filtration System – The fourth layer of protection is air filtration systems using a HEPA filter, carbon filter, electrostatic filtration, or ultraviolet germicidal system.
  • Air and Waterline Disinfection – The CDC also recommends following equipment guidelines for air and water discharge for a minimum of 20 to 30 seconds on each piece of equipment between each patient.

Combining all these prevention methods will help prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses. Only using one method will possibly expose dental professionals to dental aerosol. For example, PPE alone cannot provide enough protection as small infectious particles can enter a mask in the leaks. Also, dental aerosol can remain airborne for up to 30 minutes possibly exposing technicians after the removal of PPE. Likewise, antimicrobial mouth rinses do not protect or reduce the amount of biofilm, blood, or viruses. Similarly, the HVE can be difficult to maneuver alone for dentists without an assistant and only reduces dental aerosol by up to 90%.

Benefits of Dental Aerosol Extractors

Dental Aerosol Extractors utilize a self-supportive arm to position near the source with a powerful fan to draw in dental aerosol particles into the filtration system. Thesystem releases the filtered air back into the surrounding room therefore improving the indoor air quality of the dental office. High quality filter options include HEPA Filters (up to 99.97% efficiency on particles 0.3 microns and larger), ULPA Filters (up to 99.9995% efficiency on particles 0.12 microns and larger), and activated carbon filters for chemical fumes. Dental Aerosol Extractors offer numerous benefits over other filtration systems including:

  • Source Extraction – Self-supportive extraction arm allows the capture hood to be moved closer to the source. Source extraction helps to prevent contamination of surfaces, removes most of airborne particulate, and protects the breathing zone of technicians.
  • Ductless Design – The system’s ductless design creates a recirculating airflow pattern providing easy installation with no ductwork or required makeup air.
  • Added Layer of Protection – HEPA or ULPA filtered systems provide an additional layer of protection against airborne bacteria, fungi, and pathogens.
  • Multiple Filter Configuration – Multiple filters allow for the removal of particulate and fumes (such as mercury and formaldehyde).
In order to filter amalgam particulate and mercury vapors, a 4 lb activated carbon filter must be added to filter effectively.

Portable Floor Sentry


Portable Floor Sentry
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Medical Sentry

Portable Room Air Cleaner


300 Series Portable Room Air Cleaner
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Dental Aerosol Extractor Size Availability


Portable Floor Sentry:
300 Series - 15.5"L x 13"W x 16.5"H
Air Volume: 350 CFM High

400 Series (standard) - 22.5"L x 20"W x 19.5"H
Air Volume: 700 CFM High

450 Series (high flow) - 22.5"L x 20"W x 19.5"H
Air Volume: 950 CFM High

Medical Sentry: 15.5"L x 13"W x 16.5"H
Air Volume: 350 CFM High

Portable Room Air Cleaner:
300 Series - 15.5"L x 13"W x 14.5"H
Air Volume: 350 CFM High

400 Series (standard) - 22.5"L x 20"W x 17.75"H
Air Volume: 700 CFM High

450 Series (high flow) - 22.5"L x 20"W x 17.75"H
Air Volume: 950 CFM High

Sources

  • Dental Aerosol Extraction in Office
  • Dental Aerosol Extraction in Office
  • Dental Aerosol Extraction
  • Portable Floor Sentry
  • Medical Sentry
  • Portable Room Air Cleaner