We want to take this opportunity to share some thoughts with you regarding non aerosol dental hygiene, especially as relates to Covid-19.
First of all, it is safe to say there is a tremendous amount of unknown relative to this situation and we are nowhere near the end of this pandemic. Right now about 5% of the American population has been infected. Historically, a virus does not run its course until about 60 to 70 percent of a population has been infected OR an effective vaccine has been developed, tested and administered….and we are nowhere near either one of those points. So, as dental clinicians, we must take a look at this situation from a long term perspective.
Let’s discuss the impact of Covid-19 on dentistry (and specifically dental hygiene). Given that Covid-19 pandemic is new territory; there is no universal agreement on what represents proven safe infection control in the dental environment. Covid-19 has some special features that make this tricky business. Everyone agrees that the main method of transmission of covid-19 is by AEROSOL. The measures that are proposed to deal with this aerosol in the dental environment cover a wide spectrum. Everything from ultraviolet light boxes mounted every 10 feet on walls, a large vacuum cone that fits over the patient’s head to vacuum aerosols, fogging machines that fog the clinic with a virucidal agent ( a real problem for patients and staff members that have allergies or compromised pulmonary function), super filters added to HVAC systems that have to be so occlusive to air flow that they trap the tiny corona virus (which then can damage the HVAC system)….and on and on to no end. There are even some reports that corona virus is spread by shoes as the virus particles land on the floor after falling out of a dentally generated aerosol.
Putting aside all political and economic considerations, there are basically two approaches to dealing with infection control and Covid-19 in the dental setting……implement various techniques and equipment to deal with the aerosol (as described above) …..OR….PREVENT the creation of the aerosol in the first place. At DIS, we have taken the approach of preventing the aerosol with specialized instruments and techniques. We have no interest in trying to sell our customers expensive equipment that may or may not be effective. Since, like you, we are clinicians, we have a very personal perspective on this subject. We don’t recommend anything to our customers that we don’t practice on a daily basis ourselves. In other words, these are not just sales to us. Just like you, we have skin in the game. We are all interested in protecting our patients from disease transfer but we also realized that WE are the ones at greatest risk for contracting Covid-19 (as well as other contagious diseases).
Feel free to contact us, if you would like more information on our program to practice dental hygiene in a safe, cost effective, clinician and patient friendly manner.