UPDATE: Everything You Want to Know About N95 and KN95 Masks

December 17, 2020

Q: How is an N95 mask different from a surgical mask? 

A: Surgical masks are meant to help block large-particle droplets, splashes, sprays, or splatter that may contain germs, from reaching your mouth and nose. By design, they do not filter or block very small particles in the air that may be transmitted by coughs, sneezes, or certain medical procedures. The loose fit does not provide complete protection from germs and other contaminants. Unlike an N95, surgical masks do not require a fit test. N95s are designed to form a seal around the nose and mouth and are very efficient at filtering airborne particles. Both surgical masks and N95s are tested for fluid resistance and filtration efficiency. Neither a surgical mask nor an N95 should be shared or reused. 


Q: How do I know that my N95 respirator is genuine? 

A: An N95 may be counterfeit if it contains the “FDA logo” on packaging. 


Q: How does Benco Dental confirm the N95 masks they sell are genuine?  

A: Benco only buys and sells N95 masks from the following approved U.S. manufacturers: 3M, Alpha-Protech, Cardinal, Crosstex, Myco (San-M), and Halyard. Each manufacturer runs a test on the mask’s efficacy 


Q: What are the alternatives to N95 masks if I cannot purchase them? 

A: The ADA recommends N95s first, then “Equivalent” KN95s, then a surgical mask with a face shield. PAPRs (Powered Air Purifying Respirators) are also an alternative to N95s and are reusable. As always, please refer to your state dental association guidelines as well. 


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