Is Extra-Oral Aerosol Suction The New Standard In Dentistry?
In recent months, the concern of dental aerosols and other airborne hazards have been a great threat in dentistry. Throughout the pandemic, dental practices are addressing the issues of contaminated aerosols and implementing infection control protocols while trying to protect the health of the dental team and patients.
In dentistry, many procedures require the use of dental instruments that require compressed air and water. This may include high speed hand-pieces, ultrasonic instruments, lasers, and air polishers - all tools that produce high levels of aerosol droplets. These aerosols are small particles that remain suspended in the air for long periods of time. Studies show that even when a dentist and assistant are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), they are at risk for up to 30 minutes following an aerosol generative procedure as airborne droplets can linger in the air. In addition, aerosol droplets can travel up to 20 feet, meaning a dental team and patients in adjacent rooms are also at risk.
Why are dental aerosols a source of concern?
Even prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, dental aerosols were a major causative factor of infection and contamination as they can transmit bacteria, viruses, blood, and hazardous microorganisms. Infected dental aerosols can cause airborne respiratory infections like Influenza, Sinusitis, Pneumonia, Tuberculosis, SARS, and even Covid-19. Studies show that there is a fourfold increase in bacteria observed when aerosol producing procedures are performed.
In order to combat the risk of infection, dentists are now more than ever considering methods to help eliminate and reduce aerosol based contamination. While dental offices practice “universal precautions” in the assumption that every patient can carry disease, the Covid-19 Pandemic has changed the way dental practices operate, similarly to when HIV was a major concern in dentistry during the 1980’s and early 1990’s.
Dental professionals are now investing in PPE, office filtration systems, waterline filtration and disinfection systems, and intra-oral suction devices. One of the most popular or sought out pieces of equipment during the pandemic, extra oral aerosol suction equipment, is being sold to thousands of dental offices, major DSOs and dental universities around the world because of its advanced technology and applications.
Benefits of Extra-oral Suction
Extra-oral dental suction systems or aerosol vacuums are one of the most effective ways to help minimize dental aerosols in an operatory. While it is used as an adjunct to high velocity air evacuation (HVE) and intra-oral suction devices, extra oral suction equipment works by filtrating the air and removing dental aerosols up to a much greater magnitude. Extra oral dental suctions like OCTOdent are essentially the larger, more effective version of a low volume suction evacuation by working as an aerosol scavenger. It offers several benefits to dental professionals including:
Improved air filtration using medical grade filters: You want to protect your practice with only the most reliable pieces of equipment. OCTOdent, manufactured in the United States, offers UltraHEPA™ H13 to help trap the smallest particles of any virus and filter air contaminants. A UltraHEPA™ H13 filter is the highest grade of medical filters and can be compared to wearing an N95 mask all day because it captures the most ultra-fine particles. This type of filter is capable of removal of 99.97% for 0.3 microns in size.
Built in confidence from patients: Patients are already anxious about dental visits due to Covid-19; your OCTOdent will help show you care about their safety and the health of your staff and patients by taking the extra mile in infection control.
Extra protection: Extra-oral aerosol suction systems offer reduced risk by helping remove the spread of viruses and bacteria lingering in the air. The smallest of microorganisms can settle in your office for hours or longer leading to safety risks for your staff and patients. A suction unit, like OCTOdent, is designed to efficiently absorb 99.9 % of aerosols generated during treatment.
Disinfection and sterilization: OCTOdent utilizes PLASMACLEAR™ technology for air filtration, the most advanced form of sterilization to improve air quality and decrease the chance of respiratory illness.
Flexibility and comfort: An oral aerosol scavenger such as OCTOdent can adjust to any angle, because it contains a 360 flexible arm that can adapt to your patient for extra protection and comfort.
How Does It Work?
OCTOdent is designed to use a Six Stage Filtration System by absorbing aerosol droplets into the unit by entering a pre-filter stage. This is where the largest droplets will be absorbed. Second, there is a moisture absorbing filter and then an UltraHEPA H13 filter to capture smaller particles. Once the aerosol particles are pushed through the medical grade HEPA filter, they are absorbed by activated carbon. This will help reduce any observable odors. OCTOdent features UV-C lamps, which are germicidal, to effectively destroy any hazardous microorganisms. Lastly, PLASMACLEAR Technology utilizes hydroxyl generation to kill any microorganisms for optimal air purification.
How Dental Professionals Will Adapt
Similarly to when dentists adapted in the 1980’s to new guidelines surrounding sterilization and personal protection equipment, all dental professionals will have to make major changes to performing patient care. Every day health professionals are learning about how Covid-19 spreads and how to protect both patients and staff. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends using a combination of universal standard precautions, contact precautions, and aerosol precautions, and including eye protection.
OCTOdent extra-oral aerosol scavenger offers the highest quality suction to clean the operatory air and reduce the spread of contaminants. Dr. Sandra Lender, who is using the OCTOdent in her Massachusetts dental practice reports, “The XT model is incredible at capturing aerosols and does exactly as stated. I will continue to use this product even after the pandemic because it creates a healthier environment for staff and patients.”
An extra-oral aerosol scavenger like OCTOdent will benefit dental practices, as well other major medical facilities, globally and long-term. The dental industry and profession is no stranger to change when it comes to infection control precautions. In the past few months, dental practices are thriving because of advanced technologies and equipment. OCTOdent is, and will continue to attract dental health care personnel as guidelines as guidelines by the CDC and ADA update to create safer breathing environments for quality patient care.
Erica Anand DDS