Extraoral Suction Systems & UV Light: Do They Really Work?

September 14, 2020

Experts from the medical, financial and media industries are unanimous about the fact that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a substantial impact on dentistry. Because COVID-19 is an airborne disease, it makes places like dental offices a prime spot for the disease to spread, given the many devices that move aerosols around the office. Dentists and their teams are fighting back by using machines that can reduce aerosols in the office, such as an extraoral suction system.

The best extraoral suction systems are ones that utilize UV light. Ultraviolet light (UV light) is deemed “nature’s hand sanitizer” because, over the past 40 years, scientific studies have shown that it can contribute to the cleanliness of both water and air.

Types of UV lights

There are three types of UV light:
1. UV-A
2. UV-B
3. UV-C

Types A and B primarily come from the sun. UV-C is human-made and used in extraoral suction systems to kill viruses and bacteria. According to the National Academy of Sciences, UV-C is strong enough to destroy the genetic material of viruses and bacteria (DNA and RNA) without the damaging effects that UV-A and UV-B can cause. UV light has also shown to be effective in killing COVID-19.

Protecting the dental office

For the safety of the clinician, their team and patients, taking the necessary precautions during this pandemic is a top priority. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has reported that UV light can probably kill COVID-19 since it has been shown to destroy other coronaviruses. But UV light can be dangerous for human exposure.

Look for the correct wavelength, such as a higher intensity around 200 nanometers. It’s important to find a UV light that’s disinfecting but doesn’t introduce new risks in the workspace. If you choose a wavelength around 220 or 240 nanometers, it won’t be as effective, but it also won’t be as damaging either. Be sure to look at the technical specifications of the UV light.

While UVC lights are germicidal, many factors can impact their effectiveness, including:
1. Amount of organic matter in the air
2. The intensity and wavelength of the light
3. The type of suspension generated by the procedure that is performed
4. The ambient temperature in the room
5. The microorganisms to be killed
6. The distance between the light and target
7. The cleanliness of the light tube

Equipping your dental practice with an extraoral suction system that uses UV light can help reduce the spread of aerosols. Talk to Benco Dental equipment specialists today about the suction systems Benco offers. Visit benco.com or call 1-800-GO-BENCO.