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A short while ago, we published a blog about how air filtration systems could help slow down the spread of airborne infections, like Covid-19. Since then, we’ve come across people who are asking if air purifiers are better than air filtration systems for dental clinics.

We understand why they are asking this question.

After the Coronavirus lockdown, dentists and dental surgeries were finally allowed to reopen on 8th June. However, they were asked to follow certain guidelines to ensure minimising the risk of spreading the virus among their employees and patients.

One of these requirements is proper infection prevention equipment (IPE) in addition to personal protective equipment (PPE). There is also advice on managing aerosols created during aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs), as the virus can be transmitted through dental aerosol.

So, what people want to know is if they can install an air purifier, or an air filtration system, to make their dental clinics safer for everyone.

But, are air filtration systems really better than air purifiers for dental surgeries when it comes to infection prevention?

To answer that question, we need to first understand the difference between air purifiers and air filtration systems.

Difference Between Air Filtration Systems and Air Purifiers

Filter with dust trapped in it

Both an air filtration system and an air purifier work to remove particulate matter and vapours from the air. Essentially, both of them are fans in a box, pushing air through filters to cleanse it of dust, debris, and vapours.

An air purifier, however, might (but not always) use an additional sanitisation step. For example, our DentalAIR unit uses UVC focused on the antimicrobial filter to kill pathogens that are a problem with wet aerosol.

Depending on the fan size and airflow, either of them can be used for at-source or room-wide extraction. However, whilst room-wide extraction is helpful in collecting any stray dust or fumes, it’s best to invest in local extraction so that any harmful substances cannot get into your breathing zone at all.

What Are the Benefits of At-Source Extraction for Dental Clinics?

Dental clinics have a few unique problems for which at-source extraction is better than room-wide extraction.

1)    Dental surgeries generate wet aerosol from the client’s oral cavity. Whilst this may contain organic matter, which is harmful when inhaled, it could also carry infection, including legionella or COVID-19. This is why this aerosol needs to be extracted at the source, so the infection and the harmful aerosol do not spread.

2)    Dentists have to conduct dental procedures in close proximity to the patient’s mouth. This means they are closer to the source of the aerosol, which makes room-wide extraction pointless.

3)    Room-wide air filtration systems can be loud and might make talking with clients difficult. Since a dentist relies on information from the client, it can be detrimental to patient care.

Dentist's gloved hand spraying a fine mist of water

How Do I Keep My Dental Clinic Safe from Airborne Pathogens?

At VODEX, we worked with dentists to design a local extraction solution that can deal with the unique challenges posed by dental procedures! And you know what? Instead of just one, we came up with two options.

VODEX DentalAIR DA1001 extraction unit

DentalAIR UVC® extraction unit

Especially designed to handle the wet aerosol generated during AGPs, the two DentalAIR units are fitted with a light suction arm that can be manipulated so it points right where you want it. You can position the flared nozzle right by the client’s mouth without it getting in the way of the procedure.

In addition, they use a unique antimicrobial, hydrophobic, washable polyester mist eliminator and an evaporating plenum box with a moisture-resistant synthetic filter. The H13 HEPA filter effectively traps up to 99.95% of all particles of size 0.1 micrometre, with the special-blended DenCARB® carbon filters absorbing any vapours or smells.

The best part is that, with the DentalAIR UVC® extraction unit, you get the benefits of both air filtration systems as well as air purifiers. The unit uses UV-C to simultaneously disinfect the air it filters.

The high suction power of these units means that almost all of the aerosol and airborne particles are sucked in without ever getting a chance to get in your breathing zone. This means your air purifier and filtration systems have less particulate matter to remove.

Also, it means that there is less (almost none) aerosol in the air. This means you don’t have to disinfect the room as much. You still have to wipe the surfaces, but there is a much lower risk of infection.

As you can see, both air purifiers and air filtration systems can be useful in keeping the air in your dental surgery clean. However, for comprehensive protection, you might need localised extraction solutions.

If you wish to pre-order the DentalAIR units for your dental clinic, get in touch with us. We are also happy to advise you on your air filtration needs, so let us know if you have any questions.

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