The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is an unprecedented public health emergency that changed the landscape of doing business in the 21st century. To reduce COVID-19 and other similar threats, dental offices must equip themselves with more comprehensive aerosol reduction strategies such as reliable dental assistants, and a capable dental aerosol suction device.
This article will discuss the importance of applying the technique commonly known as four-handed dentistry in practice combined with the use of extraoral suction systems that enforces the precautionary measures in the mitigation of dental aerosols in the clinic.
A concept introduced in dentistry around the 1960s, four-handed dentistry reduces the amount of time a dental exam or procedure takes with the help of a dental assistant.
The principles of four-handed dentistry
While clinicians are familiar with four-handed dentistry, it’s also beneficial if the staff is familiar with this method.
The concept of true four-handed dentistry is based on a set of criteria that define the conditions under which efficiency can be attained. To practice four-handed dentistry, the following criteria must be met:
- Use ergonomically designed equipment to minimize unnecessary motion
- Place the patient in supine position
- Practice motion economy
- Sit as close to the patient as possible
- Minimize the number of instruments to be used. Place them in sequence of use
- Position equipment, instruments and materials in advance
Following the given guidelines, dental assistants can competently handle instruments while dentists can focus on applying treatment that is efficient and effective.
Additionally, dentists and their dental assistants will see that four-handed dentistry relies heavily on ergonomics to achieve success. A quality that will come into play as it correlates to the latest innovation in dental suction devices.
What is an Extraoral Suction System?
An extraoral suction device is a freestanding structure with a suction hose placed near the oral cavity. Clinicians do not need to move the equipment around during scaling and air polishing procedures.
More importantly, the suction hose captures the aerosols generated from scaling or polishing procedures, prohibiting any chance of infection from landing on the clinician and their staff’s clothes and personal protective equipment (PPE).
These devices also provide a hands-free dental suction solution. An invaluable feature for four-handed dentistry. Additional benefits an extraoral suction system offers includes:
- Pathogens are filtered using a HEPA filter and UV light
- It can break down aerosols into non-harmful substances such as oxygen
- Easily adjustable compared to HVE hoses and units
- The extraoral suction system’s filter only requires annual maintenance
Four-handed dentistry focuses on maximizing motion during dental procedures. Hence, supplementing this concept with extraoral suction devices further enhances the estimated time of accomplishing patient treatment and safety precaution in terms of dental aerosol reduction—a combination noteworthy of implementation, especially during a time where prevention and protection is everyone’s primary intention.
Now more than ever, dentists will need all the help they can get to adjust to the new normal. Thus, dental staff must step up to the challenge in streamlining dental procedures to ensure the safety of everyone in their working environment.
Meanwhile, Benco Dental and its employees open their doors for consultations to dental practitioners seeking the right strategy and equipment to improve precautionary measures against the current crisis and other possible reincarnations in the long term.