Risks Associated with Aerosols in Dentistry
Increased concern over COVID-19 has brought attention to an area of dentistry that shouldn't be overlooked: routine procedures performed many times a day in your dental office producing bioaerols capable of transmitting infectious diseases.
Dental offices are in one of the highest risk categories for transmission and contraction of COVID-19. Face-to-face communication, exposure to body fluids, and the aerosolization of these fluids during routine procedures puts you, your staff and your patients at a high risk for transmission of many infectious diseases.
Harmful Aerosols in Dentistry
Studies have shown that aerosols generated from a patient's mouth can contain up to 100,000 bacteria per cubic foot of air. Many diseases such as tuberculosis, influenza, severe acute respiratory syndrome and COVID-19 can be transmitted during routine dental procedures via aerosolization of fluids. Unfortunately, there is nothing a dental office can do to prevent the creation of aerosols.
Most aerosol containing infectious agents originating from the patient remain 36” from the patient’s face.
Who is standing and breathing 3 feet from the patient in your dental office? These aerosols, as well as spatter, pose a threat to the dentist and other staff members in proximity.
The aerosol particles of COVID-19 pose an even greater threat than those of other transmittable diseases. The size of these ultra-fine viral particles can enter the bloodstream and target organs such as the heart and brain.
Risk of Super-Spreading Event
COVID-19 remains viable in aerosols for 3 hours or more around your dental chair. How many patients and staff members are exposed to these especially dangerous aerosols over a period of 3 hours?
Aerosols will continue to settle on your instruments and furniture in that time. COVID-19 stays on stainless steel and plastic surfaces for up to three days.
Additionally, We know that people infected with COVID-19 may not have any visible symptoms, but still have the potential to transmit the virus. Risks of "super-spreading events" increase when aerosols are produced during routine dental procedures on an asymptomatic patient.
What can you tell your patients when they ask about aerosols?
While you are at home researching and planning to reopen your clinic with increased safety protocols, your patients are also at home, thinking about COVID-19 aerosols and contemplating cancelling their next appointment. Be proactive. While your wallet may be telling you otherwise, now is the time to market to your patients how you plan to keep them safe. If you don't do it, you can be sure the clinic down the road will.
Upon returning to your clinic, you and your dental care team need to be knowledgeable and ready for your patients who will be asking about aerosols. They have been hearing about aerosols and COVID-19 for weeks, and many have become "experts" through their own internet research. Find out any information they already know and correct any misconceptions right away. A well-informed patient is more likely to return.
They will want to hear what you are doing to reduce their risk. What data-driven changes to your clinic's protocol are you making for their safety? Several studies have found that properly placed, continuous high volume suction can eliminate over 90% of aerosols during dental procedures. Adding proper HVE suction to your procedures is one simple way to improve patient safety.
Advance patient education with this free, comprehensive patient flyer on aerosol reduction in your dental clinic:
Protection through Aerosol Control
Several researchers have found that using High Volume Evacuation (HVE) significantly reduces aerosols and spatter generated during routine dental procedures.
Greatly decrease the possibility of transmission of communicable diseases from patients through reduction of contaminated aerosolized fluids.
High-performance isolation systems surround your work area with continuous HVE suction, reducing aerosols by 90% or more right at the source.
Using continuous, well-placed HVE suction is one way you can reduce risks to yourself, your staff and your patients from infectious particles in aerosols. The VacuLUX™ HVE adapter makes adding aerosol control to your clinic simple, portable and affordable.
Why dental professionals are choosing the VacuLUX™ HVE Adapter for aerosol control
Ascentcare Dental Products has designed and manufactured an adapter to solve problems associated with other high volume isolation systems.
The VacuLUX™ HVE adapters connect to your existing HVE valve and allow you to use your Dryshield or Isolite mouthpieces at any chair without complicated and costly installation of equipment.
The one-piece aluminum design is durable and designed to withstand daily autoclaving without complicated and time-consuming disassembly and reassembly of multiple parts.
Through our patented fiber optic system, our HyperLUX™ light engine magnetically couples to the VacuLUX™ HVE Adapter to instantly illuminate your mouthpiece for a shadowless work area.
Use the VacuLUX™ with or without illumination, upgrade at any time using the same adapter.
A Cost Effective Solution
Due to strong recommendations by the American Dental Association, many dentists are not practicing in order to slow the transmission of COVID-19. If you are among these dentists, good economic sense says now is the time to hold tight to your money. But you still need to prepare to protect your practice when you reopen.
Ascentcare Dental Products offers a cost-effective solution to reducing harmful aerosols. Compare the features and benefits of the affordable VacuLUX™ to those of other HVE adapters, including the significantly lower cost:
Resources and Further Reading: Perio-Implant Advisory: COVID-19 and the problem with dental aerosols New England Journal of Medicine: Aerosol and Surface Stability of COVID-19 International Journal of Oral Science: Transmission Routes of COVID-19 NY Times: Coronavirus Worker Risk Journal of the American Dental Association: Evaluation of Spatter Reduction Effectiveness of two dry-field isolation techniques Journal of the American Dental Association: Aerosols and Splatter in Dentistry Dentistry IQ: Aerosols by Rella Christensen
Please note this article was originally published on 05/20/2020.
Ascentcare Dental Products is not affiliated with Dryshield or Zyris Isolite.