Aerosol formation due to a dental procedure: insights leading to the transmission of diseases to the environment
journal contributionposted on 20.07.2022, 19:27 authored by Parisa MirbodParisa Mirbod, Eileen A Haffner, Maryam Bagheri, Jonathan E Higham
As a result of the outbreak and diffusion of SARS-CoV-2, there has been a directive to advance medical working conditions. In dentistry, airborne particles are produced through aerosolization facilitated by dental instruments. To develop methods for reducing the risks of infection in a confined environment, understanding the nature and dynamics of these droplets is imperative and timely. This study provides the first evidence of aerosol droplet formation from an ultrasonic scalar under simulated oral conditions. State-of-the-art optical flow tracking velocimetry and shadowgraphy measurements are employed to quantitatively measure the flow velocity, trajectories and size distribution of droplets produced during a dental scaling process. The droplet sizes are found to vary from 5 µm to 300 µm; these correspond to droplet nuclei that could carry viruses. The droplet velocities also vary between 1.3 m s-1 and 2.6 m s-1. These observations confirm the critical role of aerosols in the transmission of disease during dental procedures, and provide invaluable knowledge for developing protocols and procedures to ensure the safety of both dentists and patients.