Assessment of the AerosolShield in preventing dental droplet spread

Richard Babington Newsom, Christopher David Pattison, Andrew Lundgren, Adam Amara, Chris Louca

Research output: Working paperPreprint

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Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted dental healthcare and training. Preventing droplet spread and surface contamination is paramount to keeping patients and practitioners safe. There have been rapid developments in this area and in aerosol reduction.

Objectives: To determine whether the use of an AerosolShield reduced droplet splatter during a dental procedure.

Methods: We performed an assessment of dental splatter, with and without an AerosolShield, a small self-assembling plastic tent. We used fluorescein-stained dental fluid to mark the droplets and captured them on paper targets. We imaged the fluorescent droplet spots under UV light and analysed their size and position using astronomical image analysis techniques.

Results: The mean number of spots in the AerosolShield group was 4 spots (SD 7), and 4900 (SD 3100) spots in the control group, a reduction of 99.2% (95% CI 0.99-1.00). The mean area covered of the closest targets was 0.98% (SD 0.43%) for the control (no shield) group, compared with 2.5×10-5 % (SD 2.3×10-5 %) for the AerosolShield procedures (P < 0.001). The mean maximum distance travelled by the smaller droplets in the control group procedures was 676.3mm (SD 53.9mm), compared with 213.2mm (SD 13.2mm) in the AerosolShield group.

Conclusions: These results show that the AerosolShield reduced the number of droplets detected by 99.2% (95% CI 0.99, 1.0), and the area of target sheets covered in droplets was also reduced by 99.7% (95% CI 0.99, 1.0). We found the AerosolShield a useful method of reducing droplet spread in a dental clinic model. More work on human volunteers and patients would be useful to assess whether the AerosolShield is practical, comfortable, and to confirm that these experimental results are representative.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherResearch Square
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • dental spray
  • droplet
  • COVID-19
  • AerosolShield
  • tracking
  • image analysis

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