The route of transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 has challenged
dentistry to improve the safety for patients and the dental team during various treatment
procedures. The purpose of this study was to evaluate and compare the effectiveness
of dental evacuation systems in reducing aerosols during oral prophylactic procedures
in a large clinical setting.
This was a single-center, controlled clinical trial using a split-mouth design. A
total of 93 student participants were recruited according to the inclusion and exclusion
criteria. Aerosol samples were collected on blood agar plates that were placed around
the clinic at 4 treatment periods: baseline, high-volume evacuation (HVE), combination
(HVE and intraoral suction device), and posttreatment. Student operators were randomized
to perform oral prophylaxis using ultrasonic scalers on 1 side of the mouth, using
only HVE suction for the HVE treatment period and then with the addition of an intraoral
suction device for the combination treatment period. Agar plates were collected after
each period and incubated at 37 °C for 48 hours. Colony-forming unit (CFU) counts
were determined using an automatic colony counter.
The use of a combination of devices resulted in significant reductions in CFUs compared
with the use of the intraoral suction device alone (P < .001). The highest amounts of CFUs were found in the operating zone and on patients
during both HVE and combination treatment periods.
Within limitations of this study, the authors found significant reductions in the
amount of microbial aerosols when both HVE and an intraoral suction device were used.
The combination of HVE and intraoral suction devices significantly decreases microbial
aerosols during oral prophylaxis procedures.