Some Knowledge on Reducing External Aerosols for Dental Practice
Aerosols are generated during dental procedures with a high-speed headpiece and an ultrasonic scaler. This modern dental instrument has led to increases in aerosol generation in dental clinics. Extra-oral aerosol suction machine has been utilized as an aerosol control measure in dental care settings, but there are few clinical reports on its effectiveness. This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of extra-oral suction on aerosol reduction.
This study included a 65 year-old male patient scheduled for undergoing periodontal scaling who consented to participate in the study. Subgingival scaling was performed for buccal and lingual pockets. Areas undergoing periodontal scaling is one side on the maxillary first incisor , second incisor and canine and another side on the mandibular second premolar, first molar and second molar, using an intra-oral suction device alone on the left side and both intra- and extra-oral suction device on the right side. The number of bacteria in the periodontal pockets is almost same between the right side and the left side. The extra-oral suction system used in the study to test the effect. The suction system was operated for 3 minutes during subgingival scaling. The suction head was positioned 5cm from the treatment site at 45 degrees to the floor surface. The level of aerosol with intra-oral suction alone and with intra- and extra-oral suction combined was measured.
Dentistry Produced Aerosols
The oral cavity is a substantially contaminated environment to work in. Standard dental procedures like ultrasonic scaling, tooth preparation, or operating an air-water syringe, all produce aerosols and splatters. Respiratory infections among dentists have become more frequent, with symptoms related to the extremely contaminated air that is present within the environment. Aerosols remain in the atmosphere for long periods after the patient has completed their procedure, increasing the risk of harmful pathogens for dentists and their assistants.
Aerosol Management in Dentistry
The prevalence of harmful dental aerosols calls for appropriate infection control and preventive measurements in the practice to ensure the safety of both dental professionals and their patients. As soon as a patient steps into the dental clinic, the dentist and their team should make every attempt possible to ensure infection control and avoid cross-contamination of bacteria and viruses.
Additional Items for Patient Protection
Nose filters are a discreet, effective option to protect against airborne particulate matter created during dental procedures. The O2 Nose Filter uses electrostatic technology from 3M to capture allergens, viruses, and other particulates, making them a valuable addition to any dental clinics’ current preventative practices.
Dental procedures involving handpieces and ultrasonic scalers generate splash and spatter that contain microorganisms, which can potentially cause disease. The majority of splash is composed of large droplets that do not travel far, settling on the patient, oral health professional, and surfaces. We found that aerosol contamination was most prevalent on the operator and assistant’s arms, chest, and face mask, and that aerosol was present in the air for 30 minutes following ultrasonic scaling. Aerosols are small respiratory particles that can linger in the air for up to 30 minutes and are usually less than 10 microns in diameter, making them a potential hazard for disease transmission. Based on the evidence, I recommend three strategies to control aerosols associated with ultrasonic instrumentation. First, use proper PPE. Second, use HVE whether with an assistant or an HVE dental suction unit. Third, use a preprocedural mouthrinse with chlorhexidine to reduce the bacterial load. Employing these measures will protect both clinicians and patients.