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What happens to saliva during dental procedures received its first real media attention when the study "If Saliva was Red" was published by the ADA in 1993. What few patients realize is that the issue has not gone away. Slow suction is a serious hygiene issue that must to be addressed.
If suction is too high (more than fourteen bars) this will be noticed by the dental staff and quickly addressed. A "tongue hicky" is not something that any practice can ignore.
If suction is running slow (less than 4 bars) – "slogging down" - the patients will experience excessive buildup of saliva/water in their mouth. Risk of flow back happens the moment they close their mouth to force the accumulation away. A patient can "out suck" 4 bars. If they are fortunate they will simply get a drop of their own saliva back in their mouth. If they are less fortunate, they could involuntarily ingest whatever else has collected in the evacuation system.
Chair side traps need to be cleaned or replaced regularly. Organic waste will putrefy in warmer environments. This will be offensive to the staff member doing cleaning. Not withstanding, allowing any form of bacteria to develop near the patient treatment area increases infection risk. AQ-Solution microbes digests the organic waste and reduces the frequency of cleaning/replacing traps from weekly to monthly.
Two of the thought in dental hygiene, Noel Kelsch and Nancy Andrews, have started to speak openly of their new thinking on “good” bacteria. Healthy biofilm requires bacteria, while trying to kill all bacteria is proving responsible for the mutation of the new “super bugs” we hear about. We encourage all office staff to visit the Dental Web Page of OSHA which states "Dental professionals may be at risk for exposure to numerous workplace hazards. These hazards include, but are not limited to, the spectrum of bloodborne pathogens, pharmaceuticals and other chemical agents, human factors, ergonomic hazards, noise, vibration, and workplace violence."
Chemicals will always play an important role in the cleaning and hygiene of any dental office. We must take adequate precautions when working with these chemicals. As published in the January Edition of Dental products Report, "I fear for the lungs of the junior team members, who are the ones most often tasked with end of day cleaning."
The MSDS sheets for all cleaning products are easily accessible online. They seldom make the most exciting of reading. But knowing the exact ingredients that you are working with is the first step to protecting yourself from any skin, eye and lung irritation that they can cause.
The increasing use of progressively more dangerous chemicals for office cleaning is not sustainable. We can ignore the cost savings microbial cleaners offer, we can deny the potential of creating chemically induced super bugs, and we can manage alternative ways of assuring patient infection control. We are at risk of systematically poisoning our environment if we continue to pour chemicals down our drains. It is our responsibility to avoid this as much as is possible.