Dentists and Masks
Masks are an important part of dental personal protective equipment (PPE).
With quality masks, you and your staff can reduce the spread of germs, bacteria, and other infectious particles present in patients’ mouths.
Masks are recommended by several protocols, including Occupational Safety and Health Administration Bloodborne Pathogens.
Dental workers need to be trained on how to keep infections under control and understand the role of disposable masks in disease prevention.
As a leading supplier of dental materials and supplies, maxill® provides a huge list of PPE and Safety Equipment for dental businesses worldwide. The list includes superior-quality masks, eyewear, and gowns.
Why Is It Important for Dentists & Hygienists to Wear Masks?
Dentists and hygienists wear masks due to the close contact with the patient and the high risk of transmission of infections.
All doctors come into contact with pathogens and germs, dentists included. These pathogens may spread a cold, the flu, a virus, and even blood-borne illnesses.
Therefore, wearing a mask doesn’t just keep the dentist safe, but protects the next patient from pathogens of previous patients.
What Is the Minimum Requirement for Masks in Dental Offices in Ontario, BC, Canada, and the USA Respectively?
Today, infection prevention measures everywhere are stronger due to COVID-19.
Dental offices in Ontario keep up with the IPAC Standards established by the RCDSO. The aim is to keep everyone in the office as safe as possible and decrease the risk of diseases.
In Ontario dental offices, it’s standard for dental staff to wear PPE. Among other equipment, it’s required to wear a mask.
Dental staff have to ensure the patients also wear one all the time, except when receiving treatment.
The PPE requirements may differ across Canadian provinces. All of them have their own standard for the recommended and required PPE. One thing that’s common in all of them is the requirement for a facial mask.
In BC, dental staff is advised to wear masks in accordance with BCCOHP requirements as part of the PPE for infection prevention and control guidelines. Gowns, eyewear, masks, and gloves are worn by dental staff in order to decrease the transmission of infections.
The patients are also required to wear a mask, as well as maintain distance and hand hygiene. In the USA, the CDC recommends a surgical mask to be worn by all dental health workers which will cover both their mouth and nose and decrease disease spread.
Patients are also required by most US dental offices to have a mask on, except during the procedure.
What Does a Mask Really Do?
Many diseases are spread via droplets from the mouth. The closer the exposure to the mouth, the higher the risk of contracting pathogens and developing a disease.
This is where a protective facial mask can help. It acts as a shield for the dentist’s mouth and nose.
The dental staff works close to a patient’s mouth and contact with saliva or blood is frequent. Protective eyewear and facial masks are part of dental PPE as means of safety and prevention of disease spread in dental settings.
The facial mask helps prevent exposure to pathogens from a patient’s mouth during a dental procedure or when they’re speaking, sneezing, or coughing.
What Are the Different Types of Disposable Masks?
Disposable masks have long been a standard in healthcare, although they’ve become more prevalent because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They’re lightweight and practical. Disposable masks are usually made from several layers of polypropylene. They’re designed with elastic straps that go behind the ears. Surgical masks are a type of disposable mask.
Disposable masks are a standard PPE in numerous health settings, including in dentistry. There are various types, but they’re generally divided into the following categories:
Although you will never see medical staff wearing a fabric mask, they’ve been worn by people during the pandemic as a means of protection.
They’re usually made of a tightly woven fabric, but there’s no standard in their manufacturing that will ensure that they’re effective.
When reused or not washed properly, this mask could increase the risk of infections.
The filtering face piece mask is created to help wearers reduce the inhalation of aerosol particles and bigger droplets.
This mask is comfy and lightweight. They’re disposable and cover the nose and mouth fully.
There are several types, including FFP1, FFP2, and FFP3. Each of them offers a different percentage of filtering efficiency.
- Type I, II, and IIR
Disposable masks are also called surgical or medical masks.
They’re breathable, easy to wear, and lightweight. They differ in the level of filtration from bacteria that they provide.
The three different types are type I with 95 percent of filtration which isn’t used in healthcare, type II with 98 percent of filtration that’s used in healthcare, and type IIR with 98 percent of filtration and a layer resistant to splash from sneezing and coughing.
They’re commonly used in hospitals, dental offices, and during surgeries.
- KN95 and N95
In form, the n95 masks are similar to the FFP ones. They may also include a valve.
The N letter stands for non-oil which means that this mask is for no-oil environment use. Their offer 95 percent of filtration.
The material difference between this mask and FFP is non-existent and they provide the same protection.
The KN95 is similar to the N95 and it provides 95 percent of filtration.
They need to have a CE mark on their packaging and pass performance tests which will show less than 8 percent of leaks of particles and droplets.
They’re waterproof and easily fitted around the face.
What Are the Different Features Available for Disposable Face Masks?
Disposable surgical masks may have different designs, although they’re generally flat and rectangular in shape with creases.
On top of the mask, there is a metal strip that can be shaped to fit the nose.
The side ties are comfortable, yet elastic enough to set optimally over the ears and keep the mask in place.
You can also loop the ties behind the head. Different surgical masks provide different levels of filtering. You can choose between three types:
- Type 1: filters more than 95 percent of bacteria and prevents exhalation of big respiratory droplets
- Type 2: filters more than 98 percent of bacteria and prevents exhalation of bigger respiratory droplets
- Type 2R: filters more than 98 percent of bacteria and prevents exhalation of bigger respiratory droplets and offers resistance to splashes
Maxill’s Silken, Aquist, Plus, and Procedural masks are available in 3-ply and 4-ply and they provide Level 2 or Level 3 protection. They’re free of graphene and rubber latex.
There are classic blue ones or floral ones. Additional features like an anti-fog strip and flexible metal nose piece are available.
Dentists and dental staff have a major priority and that is to protect their patients and themselves from infections. Thanks to dental guidelines, there are standards for protection from infection spread during procedures.
PPE is one of them. It includes wearing protective masks, among other measures.
Dentists wear masks to protect themselves from pathogens in patients’ mouths, but also to reduce the transmission of infections between patients.
Present in the world of dental supplies for more than three decades, Maxill is well aware of the importance of quality PPE. Browse our catalog and order premium-quality disposable masks for your dental business.