Dental Healthcare Workers and Patients at High Risk for Exposure to Airborne Pathogens
How Air Purification Systems can reduce exposure and transmission of highly infectious diseases in dental offices.
When visiting your local dentist, or qualifying a new dentist it might be a good idea to ask about how they ensure the office air they’ll be breathing is being disinfected.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has stated indoor air is usually 5 times more polluted than outdoor air, and many times significantly more contaminated. Consider those factors then consider the potential for the spread of pathogens through the air at a dental office. Ever notice all spray mist generated when the dentist begins to drill, all of that spray mist goes right into the air. Some pathogens which are airborne can remain active for hours. So how can that affect your next dental visit? Imagine a child whose parents decided against having their son or daughter vaccinated from the measles and you’re in the dentist office at the same time.
If you recall, earlier this year there was an outbreak of highly contagious measles. This particular outbreak involved about 50 plus unvaccinated people, of which 42 of the cases were directly linked back to the theme park. How contagious is measles, it can remain airborne and active for up to 2 hours! Now factor in all the other infectious diseases, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB), hepatitis B and C, staphylococci, herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Dental drills and ultrasonic scalers, both of which are combined with a water spray, generate a significant amount of droplets/aerosol particles containing body fluids (saliva, blood and plaque) and microbes. Contaminated droplets/aerosol particles may transfer from the patient’s mouth to the breathing zone or body surface of a dental technician, thereby contributing to the spread of infections to other patients.
What this means is there is potential high risk of cross-infection due for both dental healthcare workers and their patients. The “perfect storm” for airborne infections is more pathogens have become resistant to drug-therapy, increased international travelers who might carry in an unchecked disease and the aging demographics since the elder are more at risk for infections.
Although, most dental offices are familiar with and do a good job with sanitizing instruments and wiping down areas with disinfectants, many don’t consider the possible transmission of airborne pathogens. These micro-organisms include pathogenic bacteria, viruses and fungi and, in some instances, may be responsible for direct transmission of highly infectious diseases. Exposure to viruses that cause upper respiratory infections such as mumps, influenza and rubella also poses a considerable health risk to patients and staff alike.
Since many dental offices are in strip center it’s doubtful that the landlord provides any specialized air purifiers for his tenant so it’s up to the dentist to ensure the air is always being disinfected. Although, some dentist might use specialized filters like HEPA, there are not very effective in maintaining pathogen-free air. Besides, air pathogens are produced at the source, the patient’s mouth, so they (pathogens) might never make it back to a filtration system. Dentist and their healthcare workers are just as susceptible as a doctor or nurse working in a hospital where they typically implement more technology for airborne disinfection to eliminate pathogens. Dental offices can potentially create an increased amount of indoor pollutants because of the high volume of people passing through each day and the potential for aerosolized pathogens in the office. That is why the need for a quality air purifier is vital when visiting your dentist.
Air Purification Systems for Dental Office
Air disinfection systems may be one of the most effective method for controlling the transmission of airborne infectious diseases in a dental office. Existing research indicates that the airflow pattern plays an important role in preventing and controlling airborne infectious disease outbreaks in hospitals, so it is reasonable to suggest that the use of an advanced air disinfection system is also effective for controlling the risk of cross-infection in dental offices. Air purification systems are widely used in airborne infection isolation rooms and have been recommended by both the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE 2003) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2003).
Although, there is a lack of guidelines for the design of ventilation systems for dental office settings we’re trying to educate both dentist and patients. As central air conditioning systems are the predominant systems used in dental clinics, cross-infection between occupants in different rooms may occur through the mixing of return air. Use of an air purifier like the Purealizer PR-UV01 is one of the best technologies for controlling droplet/aerosol particle dispersion in dental clinics. The Purealizer™ combines powerful disinfection using UV light at the germicidal wavelength combined with photocatalytic oxidation which completely destroys microorganisms and other infectious pathogens which result from dental work.
Placement of air purifiers is an important factor influencing effectiveness of controlling and disinfecting airborne droplet particles. Studies have found that the location of an air cleaner in a room as well as the level of air mixing resulted in statistically significant changes in performance of air cleaner. For this reason, our Purealizer PR-UV01 is centrally mounted in rooms and works constantly drawing in air to sanitize it. The Purealizer is capable of sanitizing a 10’ ft. x 10’ ft. area with 8’-ft ceilings which has 800 cubic feet of air in one hour. The fixture, which is recessed into a drop ceiling draws about 2,000 cubic feet, which equals about 2.5 disinfection cycles per hour. Mounted in each dental patient room in a drop ceiling and working 24/7, the Purealizer PR-UV01 provides the most effective positioning of an air purification system in the breathing zone, thus disinfecting potentially infectious particles that become airborne.
The Purealizer™ can be easily mounted into a t-grid ceiling support system and hardly even noticeable once installed. Air is drawn in constantly at an average of 33 cubic feet (cfm) per minute through the irradiation chamber for disinfection. This is why the scientifically-advanced Purealizer PR-UV01 system is ideal for dental offices and other types of medical facilities where air could be infected by infectious pathogens.
Please feel free to contact us for find out more about the Purealizer PR-UV01 and where you can locate one of our dealers in your area. Contact us at www.Info@Purealizer.com