Aerosols in the Dental Office: Best Practices for Patient and Practitioner Safety
COURSE NUMBER: 619
Maria L. Geisinger, DDS, MS
As dental procedures and technologies have evolved, the incidence of aerosol-creating procedures has increased. Inhalation of airborne particles and aerosols produced during dental procedures may cause adverse respiratory health effects and...
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As dental procedures and technologies have evolved, the incidence of aerosol-creating procedures has increased. Inhalation of airborne particles and aerosols produced during dental procedures may cause adverse respiratory health effects and bidirectional disease transmission. Oral healthcare professionals should be aware of these “invisible” risks within their operatories and follow recommended infection prevention protocols before, during and after patient care.
With the rapid pandemic of COVID-19 and the spread of its underlying viral agent, SARS-CoV-2, there has been a renewed interest in aerosol-generating dental procedures in the dental office. Airborne disease transmission for SARS-CoV-2 has been established as a method of community spread. What is less well-defined is the role of aerosols generated during dental care in disease transmission. While previous research has demonstrated that microorganisms originating in the oral cavity and/or present in dental unit water lines (DUWL) are capable of causing respiratory infections, the current pandemic has highlighted the potential risks of dental aerosols and potential mitigation strategies. In addition to the close contact that routinely occurs during the delivery of dental care, the use of dental handpieces, powered scalers, air/water syringes, and other dental instruments are known to create aerosols and spatter. As dental procedures and technologies have evolved, the incidence of aerosol-generating dental procedures has increased and a focus on methodologies to reduce aerosol bioload, to mitigate aerosol spread throughout the dental office, and to decrease aerosol generation is warranted.
Dental Assistant Students, Dental Assistants, Dental Hygiene Students, Dental Hygienists, Dental Students, Dentists
Date Course Online:
Apr 27, 2020
Last Revision Date:
Course Expiration Date:
Apr 26, 2023
AGD Subject Code(s):
Upon completion of this course, the dental professional should be able to:
- Explain the risk factors and basic properties of aerosols generated during routine dental procedures.
- Describe what types of dental procedures result in significant dental aerosol production.
- Understand the types of pathogens and resultant illnesses are associated with such aerosols.
- Differentiate between standard and transmission-based precautions and their utility in the dental office for safe delivery of care.
- List infection control and aerosol mitigation techniques that may reduce the risk of cross-contamination to patients and providers.
- P&G is providing these resource materials to dental professionals. We do not own this content nor are we responsible for any material herein.
- Participants must always be aware of the hazards of using limited knowledge in integrating new techniques or procedures into their practice. Only sound evidence-based dentistry should be used in patient therapy.
Note: Registration is required to take test.
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The Procter & Gamble Company is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider.
ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education. ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry.
Concerns or complaints about a dental CE provider may be directed to the provider or to ADA CERP at: http://www.ada.org/cerp
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Nationally Approved PACE Program Provider for FAGD/MAGD credit.
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8/1/2021 to 7/31/2027
Provider ID# 211886