Combine evacuation systems to better reduce aerosols in dental clinics—study
LOMA LINDA, Calif., U.S.: Airborne respiratory droplets are one of the main modes of transmission of SARS-CoV-2, and the common use of aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs) in dental clinics has necessitated the study of preventive measures that can be taken to reduce the associated risk. To this end, researchers from Loma Linda University compared the effectiveness of dental evacuation systems and found that a combination of devices resulted in the greatest reduction in microbial aerosols.
In the controlled clinical trial, the researchers collected aerosol samples on blood agar plates placed throughout the dental clinic during four treatment periods—baseline, high-volume evacuation (HVE), a combination of HVE and intraoral suction device, and post-treatment. Student participants used an ultrasonic scaler to perform oral prophylaxis on one side of the mouth during the treatment periods, and the plates were collected and incubated at 37°C for a period of 48 hours. A total of 93 students participated in the study, and it was conducted in a large clinic that consisted of multiple operatories.
A combination of devices was found to result in the greatest reduction in collected aerosols, including in comparison with the use of an intraoral suction device alone. This finding led the researchers to conclude that microbial aerosols were significantly reduced when a combination of HVE and intraoral suction devices was used.
“When comparing the treatment periods with the baseline, we found highly significant differences for HVE and combination treatment periods,” the authors wrote. They concluded, however, that further research was needed to validate the results of the study, such as additional research into the data collected so that the dynamics of aerosols produced during dental procedures could be better understood.
“To date, there is no direct evidence that dental procedures are a major cause of airborne infections. However, given the pandemic situation, the possibility of potential risks cannot be ignored,” the researchers explained, adding that it was important to identify effective measures to control the aerosols produced during dental procedures.
The study, titled “A clinical investigation of dental evacuation systems in reducing aerosols,” was published in the June 2021 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.