COVID-19 can spread in airborne particles it can move around rooms and infect people which is a major consideration when looking into patient and clinician safety. Researchers at Newcastle University have conducted a study to shape how dentistry can be carried out safely during the COVID-19 pandemic by mitigating the risks of dental aerosols. The researchers used a tracer dye, fluorescein while carrying out aerosol-generating procedures on a dental mannequin to analyze how far the aerosol particles travel.
Their research revealed that aerosol-generated procedures – such as fillings and root canal treatment – can spray aerosol and saliva particles from dental instruments at large distances and contamination varied widely depending on the processes used. In the open clinic settings, dental suction substantially decreased contamination at sites further away from the patient, such as bays five meters away. Often these distant sites had no contamination present or if contamination was detected it was at very low levels, diluted by 60,000 – 70,000 times. It was also found that after 10 minutes, very little additional contaminated aerosol settled onto surfaces and therefore is a suitable time to clean a surgery after an aerosol-generating procedure.
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