Why upgrade your dental practice’s air quality solutions? Because dentistry is at the top of the list for professions with high exposure to numerous dangerous contaminants and pathogens…and they’ll still be around long after the pandemic eases.
With one highly effective COVID-19 vaccine released and more on the horizon, dentists may be thinking the time has passed to invest in ambient air quality. Yet, from patient aerosols to chemicals, there were plenty of threats worth protecting against before the pandemic, and those will still be serious dangers after it fades from our daily thoughts.
How can a multi-layered approach to air purification increase your quality of life at work?
- Protection from Numerous Threats
Obviously, COVID-19 isn’t going away overnight. Hopefully the virus will recede to something akin to a seasonal flu, but will likely pose a lingering health threat for years or decades to come. Steps taken to protect the practice and patients now will also safeguard after the current pandemic, though.
Healthcare facilities are high traffic places, sometimes located within larger high-traffic buildings. They’re awash with all kinds of infectious viral, bacterial and fungal dangers. Protecting against them means using scores of cleaning and disinfecting products that create their own problems. Even things you might consider benign, like furniture and floor coverings, emit particulate volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.
- Relief from Needless Anxiety
Besides all the danger, the combination of all those chemicals, aerosols and VOCs quite literally stinks. You may no longer notice it, but patients likely do. And those odors can add to their collective anxiety about entering a dental practice. They’re a potent and powerful reminder for patients who don’t like, or even dread, their appointments. Imagine if you could not only make the environment healthier for your team, but also considerably more welcoming to patients.
How can you make it happen with ease?
A layered approach will effectively address threats at the source, as well as ambient air quality. For most practices, that means applying a combination of aerosol capture devices and air purifiers. The pandemic has accelerated development of products to the point where there are now solutions available for facilities of all sizes and needs. Whether you want permanent installations, or portable ones that go where you go, there are plenty of options. (One important note for California residents: indoor air cleaning devices sold in California must be certified by the California Air Resources Board, or CARB. Ensure that any solution you choose is in compliance prior to purchase. If you’re unsure, check with your sales rep.)
One example of portable aerosol capture devices is the EOS suction system by ADS. It is designed and engineered to collect aerosols, droplets, dust and pathogens through a suction mouthpiece hood. ADS states that the HEPA filter captures particles down to 0.3 microns with 99.995% efficiency. Clean, dry air is exhausted from the base cabinet. UVC lights positioned on the HEPA filter and kill any remaining bacteria and viruses captured by the HEPA filter and are exhausted from the cabinet base.
Installed solutions from highly respected manufacturers like Nederman offer an aesthetically attractive package ideal for dental office settings. Their aerosol control solutions feature a flexible, ceiling-mounted extraction arm that is easy to maneuver and position, so once it’s installed the arm can be located near the patient to effectively capture the aerosol at the source and can be easily moved out of the way when no longer in use. In addition, Nederman’s aerosol control solutions are available for single or multi-chair operatory arrangements.
Freestanding air filtration units instantly add an extra layer of protection in any room.
- These are ideal for practices without central HVAC, or smaller practices with less air to filter, or any practice that wants to implement a familiar solution that’s also impossible for patients to miss.
- Nearly every unit here takes just minutes…or less…to set up. No professional installation is required; they’re similar to the units most people use at home, only they’re more capable and professional grade.
- These can move from room to room as needed and also to a new office if you relocate.
Installed options can be a permanent part of your practice.
- Can be tailored to work seamlessly in tandem your individual HVAC system.
- They take up zero floor space; in-duct units leave more room for new technology like extraoral suction units that capture aerosols at the source.
- Installation is generally easy and can be handled quickly by your local HVAC service provider or contractor.
- Maintenance is generally very low.
- Since they’re completely out of sight, they create less distracting and anxiety-inducing visual clutter. Remember: Because they’re hidden, it’s important to tell patients they’re there, quietly keeping them safe.
Addressing ambient air quality will have tangible benefits even after the pandemic lifts. Reducing harmful air pollution is a potential boon for whole body health. It’s even good for morale; a Harvard Business Review survey revealed that the number one environmental factor employees want most from their workspaces is better air quality. Therefore, no matter which solutions you choose, you can be confident they’ll continue delivering a strong return on your investment in the years ahead.