To compare, hair is 90 microns and a standard piece of paper is100 microns.
What are aerosols?
Aerosols are defined as particles less than 50 micrometers (SI symbol: μm) in diameter.
Dental instruments greatly increase your risk of exposure to infectious aerosols.
Ultrasonic instrumentation can transmit 100,000 microbes per cubic foot with aerosolization
How are aerosols from a human produced?
It has long been recognized that particles are expelled during human expiratory events, such as sneezing, coughing, talking, and breathing, serve as vehicles for respiratory pathogen transmission
Proximity + Time Greatly = Increases Risk.
Because the work environment has a high level of aerosol production and involves close proximity to patients for extended periods of time. These factors, along with the virulence of airborne microbes, make the perfect conditions for transmission.
Visiting a dental practice puts you at VERY HIGH RISK of infection via Aerosols
OSHA rates dentistry in the VERY HIGH RISK category for potential exposure for COVID-19.(1) The New York Times reports that dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants are the most at-risk professions for contracting this virus.(2)
How long do aerosols affect my environment after exposure?
These particles can get so tiny that they can stay in the air from minutes to hours. Whenever the clinician removes their mask to talk to a patient, the potential for airborne contaminants to enter their respiratory tract or settle on environmental surfaces remains.
Aerosols travel far, and will put everyone in your office at risk
The particles can travel a great distance of up to 20 feet from an infected person. This can incite secondary infections elsewhere in the environment (5)
Why does it matter?
The most common reason reported by dental clinicians for missing work is respiratory infection (3)