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Air Particle Counter

July 27, 2020

I have already talked about the importance of the aerosol in dentistry and our need to control and minimise it to make the dental surgery as safe as possible for patients and the members of the dental team.

We have installed an air purification tower and extra oral suction systems in the surgery to reduce any risk of infection from Covid-19 as well as other  airborne pathogens.

The air purification tower will read the air quality and increase the fan speed if it senses an increase in airborne particles.

The particle counter allows us to accurately measure the quality of the air within the surgery, with a reading of the different particle size present.

We will be placing the particle counter in various areas around the surgery and take readings as we carry out work. This will allow me to build up an evidence base of how effective the various machines are, which treatments carry the most risk if any.

We have started to build up these readings and are collating our information with a group of 20 other dentists using the same machines.

Below are readings taken in the surgery first thing in the morning before any treatment has been carried out and we are finding these values and counts are pretty constant over a period of several days.

The second reading (below) was taken in the surgery after a treatment was carried out using a drill but with the air purification tower switched on. At this stage I wasn’t using our extra oral suction unit and so I would expect an even lower figure if that had been used.

The work carried out was a small filling and so not much work with the drill. But the particle reduction is still marked.  This reading was taken after the filling was complete, I will however be taking readings as we are working so I get a real time air quality reading.

Our working group of dentists have agreed protocols of when we will take readings from which positions. All our surgeries are slightly different in shape and size, most of us are using air purification and extra oral suction units. But by collating all our data we should be able to build an informative picture of how effective our protective measures are.

The 0.3 um reading and to a lesser degree the 0.5um reading are of the greatest interest to us as this is the particle size that remains suspended in the air for long periods of time and so present the greatest danger of being inhaled as a possible route of infection.

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