The Information about Dental Air Cleaning

The air in dental surgeries has a variety of microbiological particulates and aerosols generated from ultrasonic scaler and high-speed drills. They vary in size from 0.5 to 5 microns in diameter and can remain airborne for many hours.

Dentists and their staff can easily inhale the viruses and bacteria contained within the aerosols, with facemasks offering no protection against this fine particulate pollution. Capturing these microorganisms reduces the risk of cross-infection – for the patient, the dentist and the team.

Dental Surgeries use chemical disinfectants to decontaminate hands, surfaces and instruments. While eliminating viruses, germs and fungal spores, disinfectants often contain toxic agents such as aldehydes (formaldehyde and glutaraldehyde) or phenol. Continuous low-level exposure to aldehydes can have negative health effects, such as breathing difficulties, memory impairment, eye and skin irritation and irregular heartbeat. Toxic compounds such as isopropanol, ethanol and n-propanol can also cause irritation of the respiratory tract and the mucous membranes.

Mercury Vapours

Recent research studies have found that both dentists and their staff have a higher than average level of mercury in their body. Mercury is used in the amalgam for routine dental fillings. Mercury transforms from a solid to a gas at room temperature. The gas (which is the most easily absorbed type of mercury) can be inhaled when amalgam is placed in the mouth or removed. Mercury is highly toxic and humans should not be exposed to it.

With this news and patients becoming more health conscious, requests for amalgam removals by dental amalgamator are rising steadily. It is therefore now more important than ever, for dentists to protect themselves and their team from this harmful substance.

Dental Air Conditioning

It is now commonplace for dentists to have air-conditioning systems installed. These installation systems are, however, often a source of contamination themselves, either because they are equipped with less then adequate filtration or because they are drawing in polluted air from outside without filtering it sufficiently. Indoor air contamination can be many times greater than external conditions, and dental air cleaning is required.

Prompted by an ever growing number of dentist offices as customers, Commercial Air Filtration specifies the IQAir Dental Series which has been developed to provide a flexible, cost effective, silent and low maintenance air cleaning solution for dental practices.

The Safety Concerns about Dental Air Polisher

Three safety concerns regarding use of the air polisher appear in the dental literature including that of the patient, the operator, and others in the treatment room. Patient concerns include systemic problems from absorption of the sodium bicarbonate polishing powder, respiratory difficulties from inhaling aerosols that contain oral microorganisms( intraoral camera usb ), stinging of the lips from the concentrated spray, and eye problems from the spray entering the patient’s eyes, especially if contact lenses are worn. Some of these problems could be addressed by coating a patient’s lips with a protective lubricant, using the appropriate technique, removing contact lenses, wearing safety glasses, and placing a protective drape over the patient’s nose and eyes.

Due to the possible absorption of sodium bicarbonate powder through the oral mucosa, use of the air polisher generally has been contraindicated when the patient’s medical history lists: a low sodium diet, hypertension, respiratory illness, infectious disease, renal insufficiency, Addison’s disease, Cushing’s disease, metabolic alkalosis, or certain medications, such as mineralocorticoid steroids, antidiuretics, or potassium supplements.

Despite these warnings, limited information has been published on the systemic effects of sodium bicarbonate absorption from air polishing powder. Air polishing for five minutes can cause a slight disruption of the acid/base balance, but serum ph does not remain at a dangerous level if the body’s buffering system functions properly. Only one subject’s venous blood was evaluated in this uncontrolled pilot inquiry and hyperventilation was the cause of the alkalosis, not the air solemnities.

In addition, no statistical analysis was done to rule out changes occurring solely by chance. Conflicting findings were reported in a later study. Following a five-minute exposure with an air polisher, no significant changes in the arterial blood supply of ten mongrel dogs was found for sodium, bicarbonate, ph, and other electrolytes. Potassium levels showed a change that was not clinically significant. In addition, arterial blood was thought to be more suitable for examining electrolyte changes than the venous blood used in the previous study. More research regarding the air polisher’s safety is recommended.

A very specific balance between acids and bases is important to maintain, usually by means of a complex system of controls within the body. Some individuals cannot readily adjust to disturbances to this balance. It is for this reason, due to the potential absorption of sodium bicarbonate by the oral mucosa, that air polisher manufacturers caution against their use with such patients. Clearly, more research with human subjects is needed to resolve this absorption issue.

An aerosol-reduction device (Safety Suction, Periogene, Ft. Collins, Colorado) has been shown to be effective in reducing aerosols produced by dental ultrasonic scalers. Another device is now available for use with air-polishing systems, and in-vitro and in-vivo studies currently are investigating its ability to reduce aerosols.

New Advancements in Dental Air Polisher

The benefits of air polishing for the dental professional include less operator fatigue, less time involved than the traditional polishing technique, and improved access to difficult-to-reach areas. Benefits to the patient include less time in the portable dental chair, less “scraping,” excellent stain removal, reduced dentin hypersensitivity, and improved periodontal status.

While dental hygienists have a wide variety of experiences with and opinions about dental air polisher-everything from loving it to hating it. Patients likely have similar opinions depending on the type of device used, the powders used, and the expertise of the clinician providing the air polishing. New advancements in this technology have some pleasant benefits for you and your patients.

In fact, a study published in 2014 by the Journal of Periodontology concluded, “For exposed root surfaces, sodium bicarbonate cannot be recommended.” It revealed that even five-second exposure with air polishing devices using sodium bicarbonate powder showed considerable surface defects.

With the advent of air polishing devices designed for use with low-abrasive powders, dentists and dental hygienists can obliterate supra- and subgingival biofilm from enamel, exposed root surfaces, and restorative materials efficiently and comfortably.

Air polishing devices with sodium bicarbonate powders are effective stain and biofilm removal on enamel, and highly effective for biofilm removal in pits and fissures prior to sealant placement. But caution must be taken to avoid exposed root surfaces and most restorative materials, which limits their use on periodontal maintenance patients.

Which air polishing devices are currently designed for low-abrasive powders? The technology is rapidly changing in this area, but two companies that have air polishing devices with substantial versatility are Hu-Friedy/EMS and Acteon.

The Hu-Friedy/EMS Handy 3.0 Premium Package is new to the market this year. It includes the PERIO-FLOW handpiece with disposable subgingival tips that are flexible to adapt to deep periodontal pockets, and the PLUS handpiece, which removes biofilm supragingivally and up to 4 mm subgingivally. The Handy 3.0 Premium Package is a portable device that connects directly to the dental unit and uses low-abrasive powders such as glycine or erythritol and has two interchangeable dental handpieces.

Another innovative device in subgingival air polishing is Acteon’s Air-N-Go Easy. This is a portable device that connects directly into the dental unit and has four different nozzles for different clinical needs. It has the versatility of sodium bicarbonate or calcium carbonate supragingival powders and glycine powder for supra- and subgingival use. The four nozzles are the Supra nozzle using sodium bicarbonate or calcium carbonate powder for supragingival use, the Perio-Easy nozzle using glycine powder for subgingival biofilm removal in shallow pockets, the Perio-Maintenance nozzle using glycine powder supragingivally, and the Perio nozzle using glycine powder for deeper periodontal pockets.