Leading research at Newcastle University has been used to shape how dentistry can be carried out safely during the Covid-19 pandemic by mitigating the risks of dental aerosols.
It is well known that coronavirus can spread in airborne particles, moving around rooms to infect people, and this has been a major consideration when looking into patient and clinician safety.
Research, published in the Journal of Dentistry, has led the way in helping shape national clinical guidance for the profession to work effectively under extremely challenging circumstances.
The findings have been used by the Dental Schools’ Council, Association of Dental Hospitals and the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme to guide key Covid-19 policies for the profession.
Research revealed that aerosol generated procedures — such as fillings and root canal treatment — can spray aerosol and saliva particles from dental instruments 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.
Dr Richard Holliday, NIHR Clinical Lecturer in