At some point during your last dental cleaning, you may remember the dentist putting a suction device in your mouth while they worked. Have you ever stopped to think why they do this? Dental suction is an often overlooked aspect of regular dental care, but it’s essential for keeping other patients and the dentist safe from potentially harmful dental aerosols – which is all the more important in a time where COVID-19 is such a big concern. In this post, you’ll discover what’s really happening during chairside suction.
What are Dental Aerosols?
An aerosol is typically a mix of water, saliva, blood, debris, air, and microorganisms. You actually release aerosols into the air every time you cough or sneeze. However, many dental procedures end up producing aerosols. For example, when a scaler is used to remove plaque from your teeth, some of the bacteria and debris are released into the air.
What makes dental aerosols so troublesome is that they can stay in the air for as long as two hours. During this time, someone could easily breathe in the harmful particles. And if said particles happen to include COVID-19 or another type of virus, it could end up inadvertently spreading illnesses. At a time where so many people need to take extra precautions regarding their safety, it’s important for dentists to be able to minimize the presence of aerosols in their practice – which is where chairside suction comes in.
How Does Chairside Suction Work?
A suction device designed to draw in a large volume of air is placed inside your mouth. This way, it can suck in the aerosols and “splatter” that are created during your dental treatment. Most suction devices will have different-sized openings that affect how much they can suck in at once. These devices are normally used during routine cleanings as well as oral surgeries and certain cosmetic treatments; they’re even a requirement in some states.
Why is Suction So Important to Dentistry?
In addition to preventing the spread of infection, dental suction has a variety of important functions:
- It prevents the buildup of saliva and secretions, which, if not removed, could weaken the strength of bonding agents used to anchor restorations in your mouth.
- It keeps the airways unobstructed, which is important if you’re being sedated for your treatment.
- It removes foreign objects that could constitute a choking hazard, ensuring that you can stay comfortable and breathe easier in the dental chair.
If you still have questions about dental suction (or any other aspect of your routine dental care), let your dentist know! The more you learn about your dental care, the easier it is to focus on protecting and improving your smile.
About the Practice
At Bethel Dental, we pride ourselves in using the latest technology so that our patients receive the best – and safest – dental healthcare possible. Thanks to chairside dental suction, we’re able to maintain a safe environment where you can complete your regular dental checkup without worrying about the undue spread of infection. Get in touch with us through our website to schedule an appointment today.