It is a difficult time for oral healthcare professionals. Global requirements for isolation and physical distancing, together with the heightened fear of COVID-19 infection, mean patient attendance is at an all-time low. Dental surgeries have to balance the need to care for their available patients with an increased risk of cross-infection, which often expends valuable time and resources in managing and implementing new safety measures.
Additionally, numerous dental surgeries around the world now face heavily regulated fallow times — periods of downtime they are encouraged or even required, to implement between any aerosol-generating procedures (AGP). While designed to protect the patients and staff within practices and clinics, it comes at the huge cost of drastically lowering the number of patients that can be attended to. This cripples the ability of dentists around the world to work and puts oral hygiene for many at serious risk.
While in some regions fallow time has been relaxed — in the US, the fallow time of 15 minutes between appointments was lifted by the CDC — in many other countries, such as the UK, fallow time is expressed in terms of strong recommendations that dentists have little option but to follow in order to remain in good standing.
VIRUSKILLER™ — Reducing Fallow Times in Dental Surgeries
VIRUSKILLER™ offers three key features that aid dentists in reducing fallow time, and allowing them to work more efficiently and confidently at a time of heightened risk:
- Airflow control
- Air exchanges
- Surface contamination prevention
The VK 401 has the physical advantage of being placed in the optimum position at breathing height, at the feet end of the patient, and in between the dentist and the patient’s breathing zone. The unit draws in exhaled air and aerosolised particles before returning clean, pathogen-free air back into the breathing space. Whether freestanding or wall-mounted, the VK 401 is compact enough to be placed right where it matters, capturing particles well before they have a chance to permeate the space.
This is a crucial feature of the VK 401 — while the circulation or exchange of air is important, the ability to prevent potentially pathogenic air from leaving the immediate area of generation is vital in helping avoid contamination of the room at large.
Regulated fallow time currently revolves around air changes per hour (ACH), a term used to denote the frequency with which the air in a room is replaced with either fresh or decontaminated air.
Given a surgery space of 16m2 with a typical 2.4m high ceiling:
- The VK 103 achieves 15.8 ACH, entirely standalone. This is well above the specification required to reduce recommended fallow time in the UK below 20 minutes.
- The VK 401 achieves 6.2 ACH, the baseline for an hour’s fallow time in the UK. Of course, this assumes an environment with no other ventilation or air movement. As such, extra ventilation (open windows) and an additional, modest fan can ensure that the same dental surgery achieves 10 ACH, again reducing downtime to the lower recommendations.
Surface contamination prevention
Another crucial feature is the ability of VIRUSKILLER™ to significantly prevent surface contamination by capturing and decontaminating bioaerosols before they have had a chance to settle on surfaces. CREM Co. Labs in Ontario, Canada found that VIRUSKILLER™ technology was capable of reducing surface contamination by 99.81%. While this should in no way be seen as a substitute for thorough and regular surface cleaning and sterilizing practices, it is another powerful safety measure to help combat the spread of infection through indirect physical contact in practices and surgeries.
Peace of mind
While no technology can eliminate sanctioned fallow time entirely, together these airflow and decontamination features of VIRUSKILLER™ can help keep inconvenience and downtime to a minimum. We wish our colleagues and dental partners the best of luck during trying times.
Learn more about VIRUSKILLER™ units for dental surgeries: