Have you ever been undergoing a dental procedure and wondered why the assistant keeps sticking a suction device in your mouth? Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA) highly recommend using advanced dental suction techniques as a way to keep your dentist in Brady as well as their assistants and patients free from infection. Nowadays, these techniques are especially important dental safety protocols for avoiding COVID-19. But how exactly does suction keep prevent the coronavirus? Keep reading to find out.
Why Is Dental Chairside Suction Important?
When your dentist treats you with certain instruments, such as a drill, particles known as dental aerosols can be released from your mouth into the air. Some of these particles can float in the air for several minutes or even hours before falling to the ground. During this time, they have the potential to infect your dentist, their assistants, and the patients who sit in the chair after you. If you currently carry a disease, especially a respiratory one like COVID-19, failure to implement proper suction techniques could result in several people becoming infected.
Fortunately, your dentist has a solution to keep everyone safe. Normally, they would use a single suction device to suck up aerosols and excess saliva in your mouth. Due to COVID-19, many dentists now use a device called an extraoral. Part of this device hangs above your head and absorbs dental aerosols that are displaced during your treatment. The extraoral takes in the potentially dangerous particles, preventing others in the dental office from becoming infected by germs you may, whether you know it or not, be carrying.
How Else is Your Dentist Combating COVID-19?
In addition to chairside suction techniques, your dentist is also taking several other precautions to keep patients safe, such as:
- Wearing increased amounts of personal protective equipment (PPP) like face shields, surgical gowns, shoe coverings, and double face masks
- Sterilizing dental instruments between patients
- Asking patients if they have any coronavirus-like symptoms before their appointment
- Evaluating the health of the staff daily
- Changing into and out of work clothes at the office instead of at home
Dental chairside suction is about much more than removing excess saliva from your mouth. Using advanced techniques like an extraoral could even save lives during these times. You can rest easy with the knowledge that your dentist will keep you safe from infection while you’re under their care.
About the Author
Dr. Greg Ritchie is a dentist in Brady, TX who earned his dental doctorate from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He has studied at the world-renowned Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies for his continuing education courses. His practice follows all of the safety guidelines listed in this post and more. For more information on how Dr. Ritchie will keep you safe during your appointment, you can visit his website.