Aerosol-generating procedures especially with the mechanical action of instruments, are common in Dentistry. Aerosols, a suspension of solid or liquid particles in air, such as blood, saliva, viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms splatter out of the operating chair and settle onto the surrounding surfaces. Dentists have strict mandated protocols of disinfecting instruments and surface contaminants, but indoor air quality controls form no part of those protocols. Unfortunately, aerosols can have viral particles linger in the air for hours. This coupled with an active flow of patients and staff between surgeries and waiting areas increases the risk of cross infection of airborne viruses.
In light of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration have classified dentistry as one of the very high-risk occupations for transmission of the disease because of the aerosols produced (2). Dental Associations directives globally included having sufficient PPE and the implementation of COVID safe measures for Dentists to recommence work after the initial shutdown period caused by the pandemic. American Dentists, being one of the first, had considered additional precautions by adopting hospital grade UV light products that disinfect the air, equipment and surfaces. Air sterilizers especially with UV lights are now even being seen in dental set-ups in India and the UK.
The coronavirus is a very fragile virus coated with a layer of lipids that can be easily degraded and destroyed by UV light and cleaning products such as disinfectants and soaps (3). HEPA filters remove germs and viruses while UV lights work to kill them, but not all UV light products are built for dental practices. It is important to seek advice on which air-filtration systems and units are suitable for your dental set-ups regardless of HEPA or HEPA-UVC hybrid systems.
Currently, some famous brands are Airdog, Camfil and Genano. There are other famous brands below that have been briefly compared:
Source (4): PRESS ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS
Radic8 and Molekule have stood out among the brands compared above. Radic8 being the better of the two has an impressive Viruskiller technology (medical-grade) that uses a two-step process. The filtration process, comprising a Pre-filter, HEPA filter and Carbon filter, captures larger pollutants such as dust, allergens, mould, emissions, odours and dander. Anything smaller that escapes, namely bacteria or viruses, are destroyed in the following sterilization process through Photo-Catalysis using 8 UVC lamps and titanium dioxide hexagon filters, before releasing clean air. The technology has a kill rate of 99.99% of all bacteria and respiratory viruses in a single air pass (5).
The Radic8 VK401 Viruskiller model has been found to be suitable for dental set-ups. It has been tested against 16 pathogens including Coronavirus and other respiratory pathogens using RT-PCR tests in accordance with WHO standards. The test results concluded that the 16 pathogens and Coronavirus it tested against were not present after passing the unit (6).
Source (7): BIO AIRTEC
We at Capital Smiles in Canberra ACT believe in orthodontic excellence and high-quality patient care. Your safety matters to us and so we have several VK401 Viruskillers in the practice for a worry-free patient and staff experience, with clean and sterilized air circulating within the practice. We pride ourselves in taking enhanced infection control initiatives when necessary as adjuncts to the strict medical disinfecting and COVID safety measures already used in orthodontics.
- Genano, 2021. Why is air purification important at dental practices. [online] Available at: < https://www.genano.com/infobase/air-purification-at-dental-practices> (Accessed 15 March 2021)
- United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Dentistry Workers and Employers, 2020. [online] Available at: <https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/control-prevention/dentistry> (Accessed 15 March 2021)
- CNBC, 2020. Dental practices consider using UV light tech to safely reopen. [online] Available at: <https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/26/dental-practices-consider-using-uv-light-tech-to-safely-reopen.html> (Accessed 16 March 2021)
- PRESCO ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS, 2020. [online] Available at: http://environmental.presco.co.nz/ (Accessed 16 March 2021)
- BIO AIRTEC, 2021. Air Purification, THE MOST ADVANCED PHOTO-CATALYTIC OXIDISATION CHAMBER. [online] Available at: <https://bioairtec.com.au/hextio/> (Accessed 16 March 2021)
- BIO AIRTEC, 2021. Lab Test Results Zero virus detected after single a pass, Viruskiller Covid 19 Air Sterilisation Results. [online] Available at: <https://bioairtec.com.au/viruskiller-covid-19-air-sterilisation-results/> (Accessed 16 March 2021)
- Medical Search, 2021. Radic8 – Air Steriliser | VK401. [online] Available at: <https://www.medicalsearch.com.au/air-steriliser-vk401/p/183325> (Accessed 16 March 2021)