Here at VODEX, we care deeply about protecting people during aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) that can potentially lead to higher risk of infection from contaminates like viruses. This is an especially big challenge in the dental industry, and partly what led to us creating our market-leading dental equipment, the VODEX DentalAIR UVC® AGP Filtration System.
Following the global pandemic, and buoyed by recent third-party tests into the effectiveness of the DentalAIR UVC®’s at-source extraction, we recently commissioned our own in-depth study on the matter. Conducted by researchers at Newcastle University, it looked into how well local exhaust ventilation (LEV), performed by a DentalAIR UVC®, is able to control dental aerosols and droplets.
However, before we delve into the results, it’s first important to establish…
Why is ventilation important in a dental surgery?
Without local exhaust ventilation, the spatter given off during procedures that use suction alone can cause aerosols to travel through the air within a dental surgery. These aerosols can contain harmful particulates, like the Covid-19 virus. Left in the air, they can be breathed in by both dental staff and patients. The time it can take for these particulates to move out of the breathing zone and settle on the ground is called fallow time.
During the pandemic, Chief Dental Officer Sara Hurley issued updated fallow time guidance based on the number of air changes taking place within a room. This ranged from 60 minutes for rooms with six air changes per hour, to a more practical 20 minutes for rooms with 10-12 air changes.
Covid-19 meant dental surgeries had to find ways to reduce fallow time further to allow them to offer a steady flow of appointments while minimising business interruption. In doing so, they turned to LEV systems like the DentalAIR UVC®, which extracts potentially harmful aerosols at source, before they can escape into the wider room during a procedure.
In short, then, ventilation is important in a dental surgery because it both helps infection control by lowering occupational exposure for dentists and patients, and also reduces fallow time, allowing dentists to operate as close to normal as possible following the arrival of Covid-19.
About the LEV dental aerosol and droplet study
While some similar studies have been carried out, to our knowledge this is the first of its kind to study both airborne aerosols and settled droplets simultaneously.
Two experiments were conducted on dental mannequins, one in an 825.4-m3 open-plan clinic and the other a 49.3-m3 single surgery, following two procedures using two different pieces of dental equipment:
- A 10-minute crown preparation using an air turbine handpiece in the open-plan clinic
- 10-min full-mouth ultrasonic scaling in the single surgery.
The LEV equipment used was a VODEX DentalAIR UVC® AGP Filtration System compliant with HEPA EN1822 standards, at an airflow rate of 5,000 L/min of air.
In both cases, the DentalAIR UVC® inlet nozzle was positioned uniformly 10cm below the chin of the mannequin and 4cm above its mouth, allowing for fair and even testing procedures.
Each of the tests proved that LEV dramatically reduces the dispersion of aerosols. The results of the air turbine handpiece showed a 90% aerosol reduction within 0.5m, but even this impressive result was outdone by an incredible 99% during use of the ultrasonic scaler.
The reduction of settled droplets was measured for the handpiece alone, and this too gave a reassuring result. It showed that droplets reduced by 95% when LEV was paired with dental suction, compared to using suction alone.
What this means for dental surgeries
“We’ve been saying it for years but now we’re delighted to have comprehensive scientific proof,” says VODEX co-founder Paul Riddick. “After this study, you just can’t question the effectiveness of local exhaust ventilation in keeping patients and dental workers safe from airborne contaminates. Whatever kind of dental procedure you’re undertaking, the DentalAIR UVC® is now proven to do so much more than simple suction in removing aerosols from the air, and preventing potentially harmful droplets from settling on the ground.”
“We’re delighted about the findings of this study,” he continues. “Now we can even more unequivocally say that the DentalAIR UVC® will help dentists conform to safety standards. If you run a dental surgery, the DentalAIR UVC® is one of the best ways to keep your business COSHH-compliant, and operating as normal as the ongoing situation with airborne viruses develops.”
Do you need at-source extraction for your dental surgery?
If you’re concerned about lowering fallow time while delivering the highest quality dental care, and protecting everyone who enters your clinic from the potentially harmful effects of airborne aerosols and droplets, there’s no better solution than the VODEX DentalAIR UVC® AGP Filtration System.
Or to read the full report, please click the button below.
- Study: Local Exhaust Ventilation to Control Dental Aerosols and Droplets
- Extraction for Aerosol Generating Procedures in Dental Clinics
- How Ventilation Helps to Fight Viruses
- The Benefits of Air Filtration Systems vs Air Purifiers in Dental Clinics
- DentalAIR® DA1001 Case Study
- Conducting a COSHH Assessment