Dental aerosol-generating procedures produce a large amount of splatters and aerosols that create a major concern for airborne disease transmission, such as COVID-19. This study established a method to visualise splatter and aerosol contamination by common dental instrumentation, namely ultrasonic scaling, air-water spray, high-speed and low-speed handpieces. Mock dental procedures were performed on a mannequin model, containing teeth in a typodont and a phantom head, using irrigation water containing fluorescein dye as a tracer. Filter papers were placed in 10 different locations to collect splatters and aerosols, at distances ranging from 20 to 120 cm from the source. All four types of dental equipment produced contamination from splatters and aerosols. At 120 cm away from the source, the high-speed handpiece generated the greatest amount and size (656 ± 551 μm) of splatter particles, while the triplex syringe generated the largest amount of aerosols (particle size: 1.73 ± 2.23 μm). Of note, the low-speed handpiece produced the least amount and size (260 ± 142 μm) of splatter particles and the least amount of aerosols (particle size: 4.47 ± 5.92 μm) at 120 cm. All four dental AGPs produce contamination from droplets and aerosols, with different patterns of distribution. This simple model provides a method to test various preventive strategies to reduce risks from splatter and aerosols.
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