As dentists and hygienists question the use of ultrasonic instruments during the COVID-19 pandemic, they may also be looking for ways to eliminate or at least control aerosols and splatter. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for dental settings, “surgical masks protect mucous membranes of the mouth and nose from droplet spatter, but they do not provide complete protection against inhalation of infectious agents.” With that in mind, dental hygienists may want to take extra safeguards to reduce the risk of transmitting SARS-CoV-2 or other viruses.
While wearing a disposable gown, protective eyewear or a face shield can all help mitigate this risk, it’s ideal to stop splatter altogether. To that end, Young Innovations recently introduced the Splatter Guard® prophy angle, which nearly eliminates airborne particles during prophylaxis polishing.
Splatter Guard has an added wiper-style blade under the prophy cup that keeps both saliva and prophy paste on the tooth surface, nearly eliminating splatter. By keeping saliva on the tooth rather than airborne, Splatter Guard is not only protecting the hygienist, but is also keeping the patient and anyone else in the office safer.
As Jackie Sanders, MBA, RDH, recently wrote, “dental hygienists value providing our patients with the best standard of care and we are held accountable for using professional clinical judgement. We each went through an educational process and were required to pass testing to prove we knew what was best for ourselves and for our patients.”
As dental hygienists, we make judgement calls every day. Recently, I made the professional decision to move forward with the polishing procedure on a patient after hand instrumentation was completed. Yes, the interim CDC recommendations of reducing aerosol-generating procedures are ever present in my mind each day I practice, but this patient had generalized biofilm accumulation and staining. Since I felt safe wearing all the CDC-recommended personal protective equipment (PPE), I decided to go for it.
For the polishing procedure I used my trusty Infinity™ Cordless Hygiene Handpiece and the new Splatter Guard prophy angle by Young. With the added wiper-style blade under the prophy cup keeping saliva and prophy paste on the tooth surface, I saw absolutely no splatter, even on a patient who I would classify as having hyperactive salivary glands! Watch the video below to see Splatter Guard in action:
As dental professionals continue to adapt to a new normal, additional PPE or patient protocol are not the only areas of consideration when keeping patients and staff safe. Investing in tools and products such as Splatter Guard prophy angles will help ensure an even higher level of splatter reduction and infection control between patients. Buy Splatter Guard at pattersondental.com.
About the author
Whitney Howerton, MDH, RDH, is a clinical education manager at Young Innovations, Inc. Whitney completed her master’s in dental hygiene from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Whitney worked full time as a clinical and didactic instructor teaching a wide variety of courses including local anesthesia, head, neck and dental anatomy, special patient care and advanced instrumentation. Whitney has been featured in familiar dental hygiene publications like Access and Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. She is a past recipient of the Esther Wilkins Future Leader award and a member of the ADHA and ADEA.
– – –