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    Aerosol and droplet production is inherent to dentistry. Potential for COVID-19 spread through aerosols and droplets characterizes dentistry as having a high risk of experiencing viral transmission, with necessity for aerosol and droplet mitigation. Simulations of restorative treatment were completed on a dental manikin with a high-speed handpiece and high-volume evacuation suction. Variable experimental conditions with use of an extraoral vacuum suction at different distances from the simulated patient's mouth and different vacuum settings were tested to evaluate extraoral suction ability for droplet reduction. Using the extraoral suction unit during dental procedure simulations reduced droplet spatter at the dentist's eye level, as well as the level of the simulated patient's mouth. When the extraoral suction unit was used at level 10 and 4 inches from the simulated patient's mouth, less spatter was detected. Extraoral suction units are an effective method of reducing droplet spatter during operative dental procedures and can be useful in helping reduce risk of experiencing COVID-19 spread during dental procedures. During the pandemic, dentistry and its aerosol-generating procedures were placed on hold. The process to getting back to patient care is multifactorial, including personal protective equipment, patient screening, and mitigating aerosol spread. Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.


    Sydnee E Chavis, Stella E Hines, Donita Dyalram, Nicholas Cole Wilken, Richard N Dalby. Can extraoral suction units minimize droplet spatter during a simulated dental procedure? Journal of the American Dental Association (1939). 2021 Feb;152(2):157-165

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    PMID: 33494869

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