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December 09, 2020

By Dentistry Today

Engineers from the University of Michigan conducted a study at the School of Dentistry where they “analyzed the transport of aerosols within the clinics.” They used sensing technology most often used to detect auto emissions to identify areas of concern including “including the 5-foot-high walls separating each dental cubicle space and the aerosol droplets created during procedures that use water jets such as high-speed drilling and ultrasonic cleaning.”

Of the findings professor of mechanical engineering Margaret Wooldridge, PhD, MS says, “The results were fascinating. We saw things that were intuitive, like when the drill spins along the surface of a tooth, the droplets are propelled in the same direction. But we also saw huge clouds of droplets that were generated as well. From the sprayed water used to cool the drill and the tooth, droplets would break apart into even smaller droplets. Some droplets bounce off the tooth like billiard balls or a soccer ball. And the droplets hand around, recirculate, and form little clouds right by the mouth of the test mannequins used.”

They also found that suction devices used near the mouth that are commonly thought to mitigate the transmission of aerosols were of little effectiveness as “the sheer number of variables involved in the treatment setting proved to be a hindrance.”

Read the full article here.