Transmission of infection or disease during aerosol generating processes (AGP) such as high speed drilling has been an increasing concern to the dental profession. The reason is the risk of direct contact with saliva or blood, contact with contaminated instruments or surfaces that have been improperly sterilized, or respiratory fluids that may become aerosols during operative dentistry.
Several options can be considered in the control of dental aerosols in the clinics. Equipment producing less aerosols might be used but hard to obtain, and additional barriers such as respirator masks or face shields could be used. Another example of ways of to reduce the contamination risk is extraction of the aerosols at or close to the source since most of the aerosols have been found to radiate toward the patient’s chest and the operator, as well the dental assistant’s face.
It is difficult to completely eliminate the risk posed by dental aerosols, but it is possible to minimize the risk with relatively simple precautions. Routine use of standard barriers such as masks and gloves, the universal use of pre-procedural rinses, high-volume evacuation and source extraction are potential solutions for reducing the risks.