How Far Do Dental Aerosols Travel and How to Stop Them?
Water splashes and aerosols are produced when a dentist uses instruments like a drill or ultrasonic scaler. These aerosols can place the dental staff and the patients at risk of infection.
What Dental Procedures Produce Aerosols?
Dental aerosols are produced during any dental procedure that uses water. This includes:
- Teeth cleaning
- Tooth extractions
- Filling cavities
- Root canals
During these procedures, water is used to cool the drill bit and wash away debris. The water droplets mix with saliva and blood to create an aerosol.
Dental aerosol extraction systems help to reduce the risk of infection by removing these water droplets from the air. These systems use high-powered suction to remove the water droplets before they can settle on surfaces or be inhaled.
Read more: Benefits Of Dental Aerosol Fume Extraction.
How Do Dental Aerosols Travel in the Air?
Dental aerosols travel in the air in a process called “droplet nuclei.” This is when the water droplets produced during dental procedures evaporate, leaving behind a small particle that can stay suspended in the air for minutes or even hours.
When a high-speed drill was used, the number of droplet nuclei in the air increased by 1000! The study also found that the aerosols produced during ultrasonic scaling were even more dangerous because they contained bacteria and viruses that could infect patients and dental staff.
Particle transmission of aerosols
Particle transmission can happen in different ways:
1) Inhalation- when a person breathes in the droplet nuclei.
2) Direct inoculation- when the droplets come into contact with the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth. For example, suppose a dental hygienist was not wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and sprayed with water droplets. In that case, the droplets could contact their mucous membranes and cause an infection.
3) Indirect inoculation- when the droplets settle on surfaces and come into contact with someone’s mucous membranes. This is how the bacteria that cause dental infections, like gingivitis and periodontitis, are spread.
What Are the Risks of Dental Aerosols?
The dental staff and patients risk infection when exposed to dental aerosols.
There are a few ways that infection can happen:
1) If the patient has an infectious disease, the droplet nuclei can contain the virus or bacteria and infect the dental staff.
2) If the dental staff member has an infectious disease, they can spread it to the patients.
3) If the instruments used during the procedure are contaminated, they can spread the infection to the patient or dental staff.
How Can You Protect Yourself From Dental Aerosols?
1) Wear personal protective equipment like a mask, gown, gloves, and eye protection.
2) Place barriers between the patient and dental staff to protect them from exposure.
3) Use proper ventilation- Proper ventilation will also help to remove the droplet nuclei from the air.
4) Use high-volume evacuation- A suction system removes water droplets and aerosols from the air.
5) Use new, sterile instruments- This will help prevent infection spread.
A VOC air cleaner is an example of technology that can be used to filter out dental aerosols. IP Systems offer the best quality VOC air cleaners on the market today. Our systems help to remove over 99% of VOCs from the air, including dental aerosols.For the best VOC air cleaner, Call IP Systems .