Buying an air purifier for dentists’ offices (dental air cleaners)

When you think of a dentist’s office, you are likely unsurprised to hear that it is one of the medical establishments with the worst indoor air quality. The indoor air in a dental clinic is rife with cleaning and sanitising products, anaesthetic gases, germ-containing aerosols, and chemicals, to name a few, all of which have a negative impact on health. Dentists, dental hygienists, and patients are all put at risk. What are the main hazards in a dentist’s office? How can an air purifier for dentists’ offices help? Read on to learn more.

A dentist working on a patient

Dentists are exposed to many airborne hazards

As mentioned above, there are many airborne hazards found in the indoor air of a dental practice. These all have inherent dangers to those inhaling air containing polluting particles.

Infectious hazards

Exposure to infectious hazards puts dentists at high risk of airborne disease risk and spread. During the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple healthcare facilities were linked to superspreading (moments marked by extreme pathogen spread) events1. Naturally, with any medical profession, the risk of disease transmission is significant. However, dentistry was declared the ‘unhealthiest’ occupation in regards to risk of infection and exposure to disease. Dentists scored a 95 out of 100 for disease exposure. They also scored a 99 out of 100 for physical proximity2. These two factors make dentistry the most at-risk profession, even beyond healthcare professions, of infection and disease spread.

Aside from direct contact with patients, working with other potentially infectious materials such as needles and aerosols puts a dentist at risk of infection and diseases. This, of course, is similar in other healthcare professions. Some of the most commonly spread diseases in dentistry and throughout the healthcare world include:

  • Infection by bacteria and viruses caused by aerosols and splatter3
  • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
  • Hepatitis B4
  • Syphilis
  • Tuberculosis5

The highest quantity of aerosols is released during ultrasonic scaling procedures and whilst using high-speed dental drills. Exposure to contaminated aerosols is what led to the transmission of the coronavirus and is also responsible for the spread of a host of other infectious diseases.

Psychological hazards

Stress is a psychological condition that impacts most dentists. The vast majority of dentists (83%) view their profession as being stressful. Many also perceive their jobs as being more stressful than other professions (60%)4. It is a career known for its high job-related stress and one that often leads to burnout. A 2003 Australian study found that dentists experience stress levels that are often two to four times higher than the general population6. Some of dentists’ stressors include overwork, running behind schedule due to late and/or nervous patients, and causing pain.

Studies have found that the presence of airborne particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10, more specifically) in indoor air may be a substantial contributor to stress levels, especially in areas that are heavily polluted. Particulate matter causes the body to elicit stress responses ultimately causing higher blood pressure and other signs of oxidative stress and inflammation7. A study in China even found that university students living in highly-polluted areas or cities were 6.67 times more likely to suffer from severe mental stress than those living in less polluted areas8.

Additionally, other studies have found links between air pollution and other mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.

Mercury health hazards

Mercury vapour emissions pose a high health hazard to dentists, dental practice employees, and patients. The dangers of mercury exposure in dentistry include neurological symptoms like memory disturbances, anxiety, and tremors in the upper and lower extremities9. High-quality equipment and materials, proper ventilation, and indoor air purification have all helped lessen dangers of dentists’ exposure to toxic mercury vapours and particles.

Anaesthetic gases

The use of nitrous oxide gas for anaesthetic purposes releases harmful fumes and particles into the breathing air in a dental clinic. One study observed that peak concentrations of nitrous oxide measure upwards of 1190 ppm10. Side effects of nitrous oxide may include disorientation, loss of balance, dizziness, impaired cognition, and weakness in the legs. All of these symptoms may severely impact a dentist’s on-the-job performance, posing danger to both the dentist and the patient11.

A dentist working on a patient

The benefits of an air purifier for dental practices

Installing an air purifier in dental practices provides a multitude of benefits and protects anyone who uses these spaces (dentists, non-dentist employees, patients, cleaning staff, etc).

Clean the air of bacteria and viruses

Investing in an air purification device that fights against bacteria and viruses in a dental practice is a great way to reduce and control airborne pathogen concentrations. This helps protect everyone in a dental clinic from all airborne infectious diseases sourced from both bacteria and viruses like COVID-19 and epidemics like the flu. Reducing dentists’ and dental staff exposure to airborne bacteria and viruses like SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus) is a major draw in purchasing an air purifier for dentists’ offices.

It is worth noting that not all air purifiers are created equal. It is important to seek out air purifiers that contain a HEPA-certified filter. HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is a designation given to filters that remove 99.97% of airborne pollutant particles down to a size of 0.01 microns in a single pass. This includes bacteria, viruses, allergens (like pollen, dust, dust mites, pet hair and dander, and mould and its spores), and fine particulate pollution (PM).

All Eoleaf devices contain medical-grade, HEPA-certified H13 filters. This is just one step of our proprietary 8-step filtration method.

Fight particulate matter (PM) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

A 2022 study declared that the use of air purification devices in dental practices ‘contributes considerably to the improvements of the indoor air quality in dental care facilities’12. Removing air pollutant particles like particulate matter, especially PM2.5, PM10, and VOCs, from the air helps dentists and dental staff clean their polluted indoor air and stave off the negative health effects caused by indoor air pollution. Some of those effects include:

  • Eye irritation, bronchitis, and triggering of asthma attacks
  • Increased risk of multiple types of cancer (especially lung cancer)
  • Increased risk of respiratory disease like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Pregnancy and fertility complications
  • Increased morbidity and mortality for those with lung or heart conditions
  • Reduced focus and cognitive performance
  • Increased fatigue and mental health disorders like anxiety and depression

New furniture can release VOCs like formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, continuously for up to two years into indoor spaces. The use of pesticides, cleaning products, chemicals, air fresheners, and construction materials all release VOCs into the air. VOC concentrations, along with other indoor air pollutants, are often 2 to 5 times higher in indoor spaces than outdoor spaces.

Reduce fallow time between patients

Increasing patient throughput, or fallow time, is also a benefit of installing an air purifier for a dental practice. High-quality air purifiers (like Eoleaf’s) can reduce fallow time to as little as 5 minutes when the device is set on maximum fan speed between patients.

Improve patient and employee confidence

Purchasing an air purifier for a dental practice encourages both patient and employee confidence.

For patients, seeing that a dental practice invests in its indoor air quality (IAQ) helps put them at ease for their dental visit. A dental practice that puts patient health first is one that can be trusted to do the same during their dental procedures.

For employees, working for a dental practice that invests in the improvement of IAQ makes dental staff feel secure in the safety of their workplace. This encourages more employee confidence, output, and better quality work performance.

A dental patient smiling at his dentist

How to choose an air purifier for dental practices?

When choosing your air purifier for a dental practice, be sure to keep the following crucial details in mind.

Room size and air volume

Air purifiers are designed to filter the air in rooms of a maximum size. When choosing your air purifier, be sure that the device is properly sized to the rooms in your dental practice’s space. We often recommend our AEROPRO 150 model for professional purposes due to its high ‘clean air delivery rate’ (CADR) and air changes per hour (ACH), both of which contribute to optimal air filtration in medical settings. Known as our ‘professional model’, our AEROPRO 150 air purifiers can be found in many professional settings including medical clinics and practices, warehouses, commercial spaces, office buildings, and more.

Clean air delivery rate (CADR) and ACH are both important metrics when determining an air purifier’s efficiency. CADR refers to the volume of filtered air that an air cleaner can deliver. The higher the CADR, the more efficient an air purifier is and the faster that device can filter out pollutant particles. Note that some devices may have multiple CADR numbers for specific pollutants, whilst others, like Eoleaf’s, have a general CADR number. Our CADR numbers for the devices we offer are as follows:

ACH, on the other hand, refers to the amount of times indoor air in a room is replaced with purified air. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends an ACH value of at least 5 for an air cleaner to be effective.

Filtration technology and performance

An air purifier for dental practices should be able to combat all types of air pollution present in a room. Remember that devices only containing HEPA filters have their limitations, especially in that HEPA filters are unable to remove chemical pollution like VOCs. This is where Eoleaf’s multi-layer purification technology comes in. Our devices remove all types of air pollutant particles thanks to the variety of air filtration technology types found in our devices:

User-friendly and convenient design

Some other characteristics of a suitable air purifier for dentists’ offices are:

  • Portable – Eoleaf’s devices come with wheels, making it fully mobile and giving you full control over your air purifier’s placement
  • Space-efficient – our devices occupy a small volume of floor space so as to not get in the way
  • Discreet – Eoleaf air purifiers offer a sleek design, allowing them to blend in seamlessly into any environment
  • Modern and user-friendly – minimal user interaction is required thanks to Eoleaf’s smart features including Automatic mode, smart scheduling, gesture control, mobile and smartphone app compatibility (our devices connect to the Tuya Smart mobile phone app), voice commands, and more

Noise level

As mentioned above, noise level should be of top concern for an air purifier in a dental practice. Eoleaf devices are quiet, allowing you to perform your work in peace. You can also rest assured that your patients will not be disturbed during their visits.

For any questions regarding which device is right for your dental practice, feel free to reach out to our team of air purification experts. We are here to help anytime! We also encourage you to read through our in-depth Buying Guide to learn about all the considerations that should be made before purchasing an air purifier for your home or professional space.

Eoleaf's AEROPRO 150 air purifier in a dental office


Resources

1 Cheng VC, Fung KS, Siu GK, Wong SC, Cheng LS, Wong MS, Lee LK, Chan WM, Chau KY, Leung JS, Chu AW, Chan WS, Lu KK, Tam KK, Ip JD, Leung KS, Lung DC, Tse H, To KK, Yuen KY. Nosocomial Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 by Possible Airborne Transmission Leading to a Superspreading Event. Clin Infect Dis. 2021 Sep 15;73(6):e1356-e1364. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciab313. PMID: 33851214; PMCID: PMC8083289.

2 Dentists are the most at risk of infection at work, study says. The Dentist. (2020, October 2). https://www.the-dentist.co.uk/content/news/dentists-are-the-most-at-risk-of-infection-at-work-study-says/

3 Leggat PA, Kedjarune U. Bacterial aerosols in the dental clinic: a review. Int Dent J. 2001 Feb;51(1):39-44. doi: 10.1002/j.1875-595x.2001.tb00816.x. PMID: 11326448.

4 Ayatollahi, J., Bahrololoomi, R., & Ayatollahi, F. (2005). Vaccination of dentist and other oral health care providers. J Den Med, 18(3), 5-14.

5 Samaranayake P. Re-emergence of tuberculosis and its variants: implications for dentistry. Int Dent J. 2002 Oct;52(5):330-6. doi: 10.1002/j.1875-595x.2002.tb00880.x. PMID: 12418601.

6 Winwood PC, Winefield AH, Lushington K. The role of occupational stress in the maladaptive use of alcohol by dentists: a study of South Australian general dental practitioners. Aust Dent J. 2003 Jun;48(2):102-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1834-7819.2003.tb00017.x. PMID: 14649399.

7 Li, H., Cai, J., Chen, R., Zhao, Z., Ying, Z., Wang, L., Chen, J., Hao, K., Kinney, P. L., Chen, H., & Kan, H. (2017). Particulate matter exposure and stress hormone levels. Circulation, 136(7), 618–627. doi:10.1161/circulationaha.116.026796

8 Zhang, W., Peng, S., Fu, J., Xu, K., Wang, H., Jin, Y., Yang, T., & Cottrell, R. R. (2021). Urban air pollution and mental stress: A nationwide study of university students in China. Frontiers in Public Health, 9. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2021.685431

9 Chaari N, Chebel S, Merchaoui I, Kerkeni A, Neffati F, Najjar F, Akrout M. Neuropsychological Effects of Mercury Exposure Among Dentists in Monastir City. Recent Pat Inflamm Allergy Drug Discov. 2015;9(2):151-8. doi: 10.2174/1872213x10666151119145142. PMID: 26581313.

10 Henderson KA, Matthews IP. Environmental monitoring of nitrous oxide during dental anaesthesia. Br Dent J. 2000 Jun 10;188(11):617-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.4800556. PMID: 10893816.

11 van Amsterdam J, Nabben T, van den Brink W. Recreational nitrous oxide use: Prevalence and risks. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2015 Dec;73(3):790-6. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2015.10.017. Epub 2015 Oct 22. PMID: 26496821.

12 Tzoutzas I, Karoussis I, Maltezou HC. Air Quality in Dental Care Facilities: Update to Current Management and Control Strategies Implementing New Technologies: A Comprehensive Review. Vaccines (Basel). 2022 May 26;10(6):847. doi: 10.3390/vaccines10060847. PMID: 35746455; PMCID: PMC9227829.

Eoleaf's range of air purifiers

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