Dental Aerosol as a Hazard Risk for Dental Workers

Matys J, Grzech-Leśniak K.
Dental Aerosol as a Hazard Risk for Dental Workers. Materials 2020, 13, 5109


Standard dental procedures, when using a water coolant and rotary instruments, generate aerosols with a significantly higher number of various dangerous pathogens (viruses, bacteria, and fungi). Reducing the amount of aerosols to a minimum is mandatory, especially during the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19. The study aimed to evaluate the amount of aerosol generated during standard dental procedures such as caries removal (using dental bur on a high and low-speed handpiece and Er:YAG laser), ultrasonic scaling, and tooth polishing (using silicon rubber on low-speed handpiece) combined with various suction systems. The airborne aerosols containing particles in a range of 0.3–10.0 μm were measured using the PC200 laser particle counter (Trotec GmbH, Schwerin, Germany) at three following sites, manikin, operator, and assistant mouth, respectively. The following suction systems were used to remove aerosols: saliva ejector, high volume evacuator, saliva ejector with extraoral vacuum, high volume evacuator with extraoral vacuum, Zirc® evacuator (Mr.Thirsty One-Step®), and two customized high volume evacuators (white and black). The study results showed that caries removal with a high-speed handpiece and saliva ejector generates the highest amount of spray particles at each measured site. The aerosol measurement at the manikin mouth showed the highest particle amount during caries removal with the low and high-speed handpiece. The results for the new high volume evacuator (black) and the Zirc® evacuator showed the lowest increase in aerosol level during caries removal with a high-speed handpiece. The Er:YAG laser used for caries removal produced the lowest aerosol amount at the manikin mouth level compared to conventional dental handpieces. Furthermore, ultrasonic scaling caused a minimal aerosol rise in terms of the caries removal with bur. The Er:YAG laser and the new wider high volume evacuators improved significantly suction efficiency during dental treatment. The use of new suction systems and the Er:YAG laser allows for the improvement of biological safety in the dental office, which is especially crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keywords: biological safety; COVID-19; Er:YAG laser; high volume evacuator

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