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How Teledentistry Could Help You: 3 Reasons To Try Telehealth

Whether you’re looking to replace the siding on your house, landscape your backyard, or even fix your smile, there is always something to do. And, chances are it seems many of these things get put on the back burner because of time or cost. Cost is enormous to everyone, and we all know that there really isn’t anything that is “cheap.” If it is “cheap,” most of us tend to say, “whoa hold up, there has to be a catch,” right!? The rule “if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is,” seems pretty spot on.

curious young man on Teledentistry

While some things are too good to be true, there one thing is genuinely legitimate. It’s Teledentisry! What is Teledentistry? Teledentistry, in short, is the use of information and telecommunication to offer dental services to a variety of patients. What’s cool about Telehealth, in general, is that providers in any area of expertise can reach a maximum number of people. The same goes for Teledentistry. Dentists can see more patients even quicker than they could in the office. A dentist can see you from the comfort of your own home or another provider’s office, coordinating care. Thus, benefiting your oral and overall health. Now that’s pretty cool!

smiling mature woman for Teledentistry

But why would anyone want to have a Teledentistry appointment? Ok, we all know that you aren’t going to get your teeth cleaned by a dentist in Lincoln, NE, while you are sitting on your couch in Dallas, TX, that’s not realistic. But, what is practical, however, is that many people worldwide have had successful Teledentisry appointments. The reasons behind Teledentistry are quite simple and do make sense. So, let’s go over them!

3 reasons to try telehealth banner

3 Great Reasons to Try Teledentistry


  1. Education – Education plays a huge role in any decision we make. If we don’t have the facts, it’s hard for anyone to decide anything. Similarly, we can’t get the facts if we don’t talk to someone who knows something. Whether it’s the guy selling you new siding for your house or a dentist talking to you about the reason for your discomfort and the options available to remedy it, these people have the facts. Facts, no matter what, help build a solid foundation. With a solid foundation, you can make confident, educated decisions. Making good decisions will ultimately benefit your overall health.
  2. Awareness – What exactly is awareness? Awareness is to spread knowledge about something or spread knowledge that something exists. Whether it’s cancer awareness or awareness about different dental diseases, it’s awareness nonetheless. In this particular case, Teledentistry could help spread awareness to patients about oral cancer or periodontal disease. In the end, spreading awareness could help one person or multiple people – and it could save your teeth!
  3. Treatment and Consultation – Teledentistry could prove extremely valuable if you need urgent dental care. We all know that emergencies never seem to happen during business hours. If you need immediate oral care, you can still get an opinion from a licensed dentist. Now that’s pretty neat! In doing so, you can formulate a treatment plan. If the dentist you consult with feels your dental concern is severe enough, they may have you come to the office. Overall, that’s still an easy visit. The hardest part is over; you’ve talked to a dental professional who is aware of your condition, and they likely offered you a remedy of some kind even if it’s short-term. For me, having advice from a professional is almost always enough to ease some pretty severe discomfort.

Even though not everyone feels Teledentistry is ideal, it does have many benefits. One of the biggest pros of using Teledentistry, or Telehealth in general, is that you don’t have to go to the office (in most cases). For you, that means more time in your schedule to do what you need to do. You don’t have the headache of fighting traffic or waiting in line once you arrive at the dental clinic. Teledentistry is a straightforward process, and being able to see a dentist when you need to see a dentist, should sound incredibly appealing. If you’ve ever experienced dental pain, you know it’s no fun. Also, a second opinion is sometimes necessary, and this a quick way to get a second point of view. Another perk? Your insurance just might cover the cost or at least a portion of Telehealth appointments depending upon your plan. Be sure to call and ask them.

young woman thinking of Teledentistry

Now that you know more about Teledentistry, I hope you are inclined to try it. Going out of your comfort zone is sometimes needed, and in the end, you might discover something you love. I’m all about easy and convenient, and Teledentistry offers both. What’s not to love about that? Give it a try; I think you’ll like it!

Nebraska Family Dentistry has multiple Lincoln Dental Clinics!
Choose any location “dentist near me” convenient for you.

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New or Trending Hygiene/Dental Products for Consumers in 2020

Activated Charcoal Toothpaste/Whitening Powder

I’ve had several patients ask about dental products for consumers, which can include using items like charcoal toothpaste or powder. The Charcoal toothpaste is no different than if a patient used whitening toothpaste. It only removes surface stains due to its abrasive property, but doesn’t actually whiten the tooth structure. Even though there aren’t any great dental concerns when using this product, there are some cons. It can leave residue along the gum line, especially if the patient doesn’t have great home care. Also, the charcoal can settle along gum lines or heavy plaque/calculus. In the end, the abrasive property can be harmful to areas of recession/exposed root structure, may even cause more sensitivity. At Nebraska Family Dentistry, we are always sure to stay up-to-date with the latest products, so we know what might work well for our patients.

Before and After Charcoal toothpaste

In addition, if a patient is using dental products for consumers like active charcoal for oral care, they may be using other products/supplements containing it as well. It should be noted that activated charcoal can interfere with some medications. Activated charcoal may also reduce absorption of certain nutrients.

Medications affected are: 

  • Acetaminophen
  • Digoxin
    • Used for heart disease. It is a medication that helps your heart work better to send blood through your body. It strengthens the heart muscle’s contractions and slows your heart rate. 
      • types of digoxin include: digoxin (lanoxin, lanoxicaps, digitek) and digitoxin (crystodigin)
  • Theophylline
    • Theophylline is a relatively weak but inexpensive bronchodilator containing a chemical similar to caffeine. It relaxes the smooth muscle that surrounds the airways.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
    • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) have been used to treat depression since the 1950s. They tend to cause more side effects than newer drugs for depression. As with all antidepressants, you must take TCAs for a while before it starts to work. 
      • Types of TCAs include amitriptyline (Elavil), amoxapine Asendin), desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Sinequan), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor), protriptyline (Vivactil), and trimipramine (Surmontil).

Electric Toothbrushes: An Excellent Dental Product for Consumers when Used Correctly

There are a lot of selections for dental products for consumers when it comes to electric toothbrushes. I always get asked, “which is the best?” Honestly, they are really all the same as long as the patient is using them correctly. 

Newer or trending models: 

burst toothbrush

BURST

  • Charcoal Bristle
    • Super soft charcoal-infused PBT nylon bristles: specially designed to remove surface stains. BURST has been clinically proven to provide up to 91% greater plaque removal vs a manual toothbrush. The charcoal is naturally antimicrobial which helps to keep the bristles hygienic for the lifetime of the brush head.
  • 33,000 Sonic Vibrations Per Minute
    • Versus a manual toothbrush, BURST reduces gum bleeding up to 3x more after just 15 days.
  • 2 Minute Timer
  • 3 Brushing Modes
    • Whitening, sensitive and massage.
  • Powerful, Long-Lasting Lithium Battery
  • Cost $69.99, with a subscription replacement heads are $6.00 a piece.
quip toothbrush

QUIP

  • Sensitive, silent sonic vibrations
  • 2-minute timer with 30-second pulses
  • Waterproof & shower-safe
  • Mirror mount that doubles as a travel cover.
  • Electric sets for adults and kids start at $25, with refill plans from $5.
waterpik sonic fusion

WATERPIK SONIC FUSION TOOTHBRUSH

  • Sonic-Fusion combines the power of an advanced sonic toothbrush with the Waterpik Water Flosser. The toothbrush head features a built-in water flosser tip that pulsates from the center of the toothbrush, allowing you to use one device for both brushing and flossing
  • A clinical study conducted by Waterpik found that Sonic-Fusion is 2X as effective as traditional brushing and flossing for reducing plaque and improving gum health. BUT NO STUDY ON HOW EFFECTIVE FOR PREVENTING INTERPROXIMAL CAVITIES OR INTERPROXIMAL CALCULUS!
  • Patient can use most mouthwashes in the reservoir. The exceptions are povidone-iodine and pure essential oil such as tea tree oil. If any agent other than water is used in the reservoir, you should flush the unit with water after using it.
  • Sonic-Fusion includes patented water flossing brush heads.
  • 2-minute brushing timer with a 30-second pacer.
  • Advanced pressure control
  • Recharge indicator light
  • Includes deluxe toothbrush travel case
  • The price range of $169.99-$199.99

Personally, when it comes to dental products for consumers, I am not a fan of the Waterpik. I think if you use it in combination with traditional floss it can be beneficial, or if patient is in full ortho, or older with lost dexterity then it can be better than not flossing all.

smile direct club

Smile Direct Club

I’ve had multiple patients ask about the smile direct club which offers dental products for consumers and makes claims to straighten teeth without having to see an orthodontist. But, I always advise my patients to see an actual orthodontist so that the orthodontic treatment can be evaluated appropriately and monitored throughout the whole process. I’ve seen one patient that took an impression and sent them in to start the process through Smile Direct Club. I haven’t gotten a chance to see this patient again though to see how the process was proceeding. I found the following articles to be very interesting about the risks and cons of the “easy” Smile Direct Club. 

At Home Scalers

I’ve had a patient ask if they should use dental products for consumers such as a “pick” or “scaler” in-between cleanings. I tell them absolutely not! I explain to them that they will end up doing more damage than good. Instead, they should just continue to focus on brushing 2xday and flossing daily. Here is an ultrasonic scaler that anyone can purchase online (“tooth stone” made me chuckle, haven’t heard that one before.)

CLEANORAL ULTRASONIC TOOTH CLEANER

CLEANORAL ULTRASONIC TOOTH CLEANER

  • Effectively removes dental plaque, dental calculus and stains remove hard tartar easily from the teeth preventing gum disease.
  • Using the remover in your current dental care routine will decrease the level of bacteria in the mouth resulting in a fresher breath.
  • High-Frequency Vibration Remover, Physical Remove Dental Calculus.
  • Safest Medical dental Materials: Food-grade silicone/PC/ABS/304 stainless steel head; high quality, easily clean Dental Calculus, Tartar Smoke, Coffee stains, Tea Spots, etc.
  • 5 gear intensity adjustment, suitable for different needs, relaxation and comfort, comfortable and comfortable.
  • Built-in rechargeable battery.

Some reviews left by buyers:

Jennifer S.

I started using this pick to get rid of some plaque that had built up on the back of my bottom front teeth between dental appointments. Working slowly over a couple of days, I was able to remove all of the calculus. My dentist commented that whatever I was doing, to keep at it because my teeth and gums looked so healthy. This tool is especially helpful if you have hard-to-reach spaces due to crooked teeth.

  • Need to be careful not to say to patients to keep doing whatever they are doing at home, but instead always reminded them about brushing/flossing/mouth rinse and keeping their routine PROFESSIONAL cleanings.   

Cynthia

I absolutely hate going to the dentist to have my teeth cleaned. I’ve had hard plaque build up in my bottom teeth for years and when I smile I try to only show my top teeth. I have only used it once but I already see the calculus disappearing. This may save my teeth after all!!

  • This may be someone who thinks they can clean their own teeth and don’t need to go to the dentist for a professional cleaning. But, just think if they have periodontal disease and are only removing some supra calculus and letting the sub calculus and bacteria just fester for years! Not good.
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5 Top Reasons to see your dentist and hygienist for a safe dental visit during the pandemic

COVID-19 frequently asked questions banner. Answers to dental questions so you can have a safe dental visit.

Safe dental visit during the pandemic

Here’s what we think you should know if you have an upcoming dental appointment while the recommendation of social distancing is still in place.

There is always a chance of being exposed to the virus anywhere you go. In this article, we will summarize the top 5 reasons for seeing our dentists and hygienists.

Five Top Reasons to See Your Dentist and Hygienist.

  1. We follow every infection control recommendation from the CDCOSHA, ADA, and NDA.
  2. We have biological dentists on our team. A biological dentist takes extra precautions to create a safe environment for our teams and patients. Biological dentists help guard against common pathogens in dentistry.
  3. We have completed the “Clean Air Project” that assures clean air at our offices.
  4. Most dental diseases, such as cavities, gum disease, and low-grade infections, are painless. The pain develops when the disease reaches its final stage. At this stage, the cost of treatment increases dramatically and prognosis decreases.
  5. Our gums should never bleed. Gums that bleed are a sign that you need to have a professional cleaning. According to one of the Mayo Clinic studies, people with bleeding gums have a higher risk of developing cognitive problems over time.
Image of the dental office infection control banner from Nebraska Family Dentistry. Infection control ensures you can have a safe dental visit at any of our offices.

#1 Top reason to see your dentist and hygienist. We follow every infection control recommendation from the CDC, OSHA, ADA, and NDA.

What do our offices do to ensure your safety?

We follow every recommendation:

✅ CDC Guidelines 

✅ OSHA Guidelines

✅ ADA Guidelines

✅ Social distancing and patient care established

✅ NE Board of Dentistry Guidelines

✅ Clean Air Project is completed

✅ Infection control high standards followed

To ensure our patient’s and teams’ safety, we have implemented several protocols to keep everyone safe and healthy. Our goal has been, and will be, to create a wellness-oriented environment with high infection control standards. Check out our infection control high standards even before COVID-19.

In light of the current situation, our offices have instituted extra precautions and protocols:

✅ Heightened screening for potential COVID-19 patients

✅ HEPA Air purifiers, Negative ion generators, and UVC Sanitizers

✅ Increased intervals between appointments and patients to minimize cross-infection

✅ Hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse before dental procedures

✅ Rubber dam isolation with high-speed turbo oral aerosol vacuum suction hose

✅ Anti-retraction headpieces

✅ Effective and strict disinfection measures

If you are not comfortable at this time coming to the office for your appointment and prefer to wait, please consider Teledentistry.

Reason #2 to see your dentist and hygienistWe have biological dentists on our team. A biological dentist takes extra precautions on creating a safe environment for teams and patients to guard them against common pathogens in dentistry. Learn more about biological dentistry.

biological dentistry in lincoln ne blog banner

Reason #3 to see your dentist and hygienist: We have completed the “Clean Air Project,” which ensures clean air at our offices.

Back in 2019, we completed “The Clean Air Project” as part of our wellness program to promote health within the workplace. Our air filtration system helps significantly reduce the number of harmful aerosols created during dental appointments. Our filtration system also removes mercury vapor. In addition to this office-wide system, we have individual air-vacuum units at each of our locations. These air-vacuum units help remove pathogens during aerosol producing procedures. We are proud to offer “Clear Air” at each of our locations. We did so even before COVID-19.

Reason #4 to see your dentist and hygienist: Most dental diseases, such as cavities, gum disease, and low-grade infection, are painless. The pain develops when the disease reaches its final stage. At this stage, the cost of treatment increases dramatically, and prognosis decreases.

Most cavities do not have any pain or symptoms unless the cavity reaches the middle part of a tooth where the nerve resides. When that happens, a root canal is indicated as treatment. Root canals are more expensive than fixing a cavity with a dental filling. Most of the cavities we diagnose can be fixed with dental fillings.

Learn more about cavities: What are cavities? When do I need a root canal? 

Most cavities can be fixed with a dental filling. But, if the cavity grows, it will reach the nerve often requires more extensive work. Ultimately, this is a much more significant expense. Likewise, a cavity that has progressed beyond being fixed with a filling might need a root canal and a dental crown. However, if the cavity is extensive or a patient has immunocompromised health, a root canal procedure may not be a great choice. In this case, a dental implant is a better option.

For reference, the cost of a white, mercury-free dental filling without dental insurance is approximately $280 in Lincoln, NE.

The average cost of a root canal plus a dental crown in Lincoln, NE without dental insurance is about $2,400.

The cost to replace a tooth with a dental implant and a crown without dental insurance in Lincoln, NE, is about $4,500.

Reason #5 to see your dentist and hygienist: Bleeding gums can be a sign of increased inflammation throughout the body and correlate with overall health.

Periodontal Disease and its connection to overall health

Studies have demonstrated a strong relationship between chronic conditions and periodontal disease. Such chronic conditions include diabetes, pregnancy complications, heart disease, and respiratory disease.

A few things characterize periodontal disease. Common characteristics include chronic inflammation of the gums, disease-causing bacteria within the oral cavity and periodontal infection below the gum line. Maintaining excellent oral hygiene and halting or slowing periodontal disease progression not only reduces the risk of bone loss and gum disease, but it also reduces the chances of developing other serious illnesses.

Periodontal disease is, unfortunately, the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the world. Periodontal disease should always be treated promptly.

Check out this video: Can I get rid of Periodontal (Gum) disease?

Still not comfortable leaving your home and visiting our office? Consider Teledentistry.

Teledentistry is a fantastic and growing option that still allows you to see your dentist. Telehealth, or Teledentistry, connects patients to their dentist using various forms of technology, including cell phones, videoconferencing, and communicating through tablets and other personal digital electronics. Teledentistry services can address dental conditions that range from crooked teeth to oral exams to urgent or emergency care.

Our dentists can help you via teledentistry visit for:

 ✅  Routine oral exams

 ✅  Examine a toothache and prescribe necessary medication

 ✅ Diagnose the source of sore or bleeding gums

 ✅ Evaluate a broken tooth and scheduling a follow-up

Questions you may be asking about your upcoming safe dental visit.

Q: You might still be asking what extra precautions are we taking during this time for dental tool sterilization?

Image of a dental professional who is at the forefront of ensuring every patient has a safe dental visit.

A: Non-disposable items such as dental tools are cleaned and sterilized between every patient. Needles and disposable dental tools are never reused. Additional infection control precautions also require that any dental team members involved in direct patient care, use the appropriate protective equipment, including gloves, masks, gowns, and eye wear.

Q: I heard you have rooms with negative pressure. What is it? Does having a negative pressure room help decrease aerosols caused by aerosol producing procedures?

A: Yes, it significantly decreases the number of aerosols and any potential exposure to other pathogens, such as mercury vapor.

Q: What do you use to catch aerosols/splatter by dentists during drilling to ensure a safe dental visit?

A: A big part of our “2019 Clean Air project” was adding a standalone air purification machine or APM. APM should be placed right next to patients while performing aerosol producing procedures. It can play a significant role in reducing transmittable bio-aerosols. 

Q: What do you use for isolation and catching saliva? 

Check out this video 

Q: What is the best mouthwash to kill coronavirus?

A: At this time, it is uncertain which mouthwash is the best to kill the COVID-19 virus. According to one study, hydrogen peroxide is more effective as it oxidizes and inactivates the virus.

At our offices, we use a a pre-procedural mouthwash of 2% hydrogen peroxide.

Q: I am older and afraid to see the dentist in fear of contracting COVID-19? How can I see a dentist safely?

A: We have a biological dentist and strive to create an environment that is safe for immune-compromised and older patients. Biological dentistry is about choosing the safest materials and creating the healthiest environment for patients.

Q: Can I have a safe dental visit near me?

A: If you are looking for a safe dental visit during COVID-19, meet our biological dentist, who works hard in providing a safe place for patients, dentists, and team members.

Biological dentistry is way pr practicing dentistry to decrease and eliminate the risks associated with common pathogens in dentistry and its effect on overall health.

Q: I am an immuno-compromised and know that healthy gums are essential to keep me at my healthiest. Yet, I am worried about visiting the dentist. How can I have a safe dental visit? 

A: Healthy gums are an essential part of being healthy overall. If you are concerned about safety, consider seeing our biological dentist. Biological dentists practice dentistry to assure that patients and team members have the healthiest environment free of common pathogens encountered in dentistry.

Q: Can my dental treatment wait until fall?

A: Most dental diseases, such as cavities, gum disease, and low-grade infection, are painless. The pain develops when the disease reaches its final stage. At this stage, the cost of treatment increases dramatically. But, prognosis decreases. In deciding to wait, you should consider the current condition and the stage of it. If you need help in choosing, please email our treatment coordinators or schedule a FREE Online Virtual Visit with one of our dentists.

Q: I had an infected tooth before the pandemic, can this infection grow and affect my overall health?

A: If a tooth becomes infected, a small area around the tooth can become infected. This type of infection is a low-grade infection. Likewise, this type of infection can be painless. Unfortunately, if this infection gets bigger, it will affect the soft structure of a face. It will also create swelling, putting a patient at risk for a life-threatening situation.

Q: I had SRP before the pandemic, should I consider my gum disease under control? 

Do know and understand that you can have a safe dental visit, even now, and we will make sure of it. Dental cleanings are essential in removing the build-up below the gum line and keeping gum disease in remission. Deep cleaning is the first step to treat gum disease. After every deep cleaning, it is natural to get the build-up back. At home, you can do a big part of keeping gum disease in remission by flossing and brushing daily.

Depending upon the stage of your gum disease, these steps may not be enough. Gum disease can become active without the help of a hygienist to remove the build-up naturally below the gum line.

Q: I needed SRP, deep cleaning before the pandemic. Can gum disease go away on its own? 

A: The gum disease diagnosis relies on the signs of inflammation in the mouth. This inflammation is caused by the tartar or rough feeling build-up above and below the gum line. Without the help of a dental professional, it is impossible to remove build-up and treat gum disease. Deep cleaning is a crucial step in treating gum disease.

In conclusion:

At Nebraska Family Dentistry, we know that each patient trusts us to provide a safe and healthy atmosphere. After all, you want to have a safe dental visit, and we think you should. Also, each patient trusts us to operate with the highest standards of dental office infection control. Part of our responsibility to each of you is to provide the highest infection control standard to ensure your safety and health. It is vitally important that every patient feels well-cared for and safe while at any of our offices.

Nebraska Family Dentistry in Lincoln, NE maintains a high standard of cleanliness. We follow the infection control guidelines recommended by the ADA and CDC (American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). When you come to any Nebraska Family Dentistry location, we want you to rest assured that your overall health and well-being are our number one priority.

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Creating Clean Air at Dental Offices

Creating Clean Air in Dental Offices
Top Strategies To Capture Aerosols and Splatter in Dentistry, Helping Keep the Air Healthy In a Dental Office

clean air project for top air quality in dental offices

This article is written as a part of the Nebraska Family Dentistry Wellness Program with the goal of keeping our team members, dentists and patients safe from the coronavirus and other pathogens. At Nebraska Family Dentistry Locations we have implemented most of the steps described in this article.

Benefits of Reducing Aerosols and Splatter in Dentistry to Create Clean Air Quality in Dental Offices:

Due to the recent health threat and the possibility of contracting a potentially life-threatening virus we all know as COVID-19, many dental professionals are looking at ways they can reduce aerosols and splatter in dentistry and provide clean air quality in dental offices.

Creating clean air quality in dental offices is not possible solely with the use of high suction and a central air conditioning system. Using high suction devices and having a great air conditioning system with good HEPA filters will reduce the amounts of harmful pathogens in the dental office. Due to our unforeseen circumstances, it’s not enough to truly create clean air.

Common pathogens that dental professionals are exposed to include:

catering dental team on air quality in dental offices
  • Viruses
  • Bacteria
  • Mercury vapor 
  • Polishing materials debris 
  • Cleaning chemicals

What are the top products for reducing aerosols and splatter in dentistry to aid in creating clean air quality in dental offices?

Today, a group of products and tactics can be used together to help minimize the number of aerosols in the dental office and reduce the clinicians’ exposure to aerosols. Although there isn’t just one measure by itself that will fully resolve the problem, all of these precautions used in combination with one another can substantially lower risk levels.

So, what are these tactics that dental clinicians can implement to help improve the management of aerosols in their offices and create clean air quality in dental offices?

10 products and tactics used to capture aerosols and splatter in dentistry to create clean air quality in dental offices are:

  1. Servicing and updating the existing building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. 
  2. Negative Pressure Room, Installing commercial-grade exhaust fans.
  3. Air scrubber.
  4. ERV system (energy recovery ventilator).
  5. Freestanding, commercial-grade air purification systems.
  6. HVE and the use of the HVE System for hygiene procedures.
  7. Use of a rubber dam.
  8. Use of an Isolite.
  9. Hydrogen peroxide or iodine rinse before any treatment or exam thereby decreasing loads of pathogens coming from patients’ mouths.
  10. Use of high Filtration, N95 masks. 

#1. Servicing and Updating the Existing Building’s Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) System

Dental teams may believe that they are protected from airborne contaminants and pathogens through a building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. In reality, air conditioning systems recirculate air, bacteria, viruses, and many other airborne particles. It is essential to service your HVAC system to ensure that it works properly and to its fullest capacity. It is also just as important to use high-quality filters and to replace them regularly. Do note, just using an HVAC system is not enough to provide clean air quality in dental offices and prevent the recirculation of potential pathogens. 

#2. Creating Negative Pressure Rooms by Installing Commercial Grade Exhaust Fans to Help Create Clean Air Quality in Dental Offices

Negative pressure is maintained and generated by a ventilation system that takes more air out of a room than is what is allowed to enter. For example, if 400 cubic meters of air enters the room, but 900 cubic meters of air leaves the room, more air is leaving the room than coming in. Therefore, by definition, this would be considered a negative pressure room.


Watch How We Created Rooms with Negative Pressure at Our Dental Offices to Help Promote Clean Air Quality in Dental Offices


Q: Does having a negative pressure room help decrease aerosols caused by aerosol producing procedures?

Yes it does.

Q: How do you create a room with negative pressure to help improve air quality in dental offices?

In this case, you can create a negative pressure room by installing a commercial-grade exhaust fan from your local electrical/plumbing company. By adding one, the amount of air that is removed will be greater than the amount of air that enters the room.

Q: Do you need a separate room with a door in order to create negative pressure?

Not necessarily. Technically, you can create a room with negative pressure by adding an air system that would remove more air than the amount of air entering the room.

How to create a room with negative pressure at dental offices?

How to handle aerosols without rooms with negative pressure at dental offices?

#3 Air Scrubbers

An air scrubber can be installed as part of your office’s central heating and cooling system. It uses germicidal UV light waves coupled with a catalytic process to attack germs and other particles while still in the air or on surfaces like doorknobs and countertops. Nothing is 100% effective, but air scrubber technology can aid significantly in creating clean air for your office at a reasonable price. The price in Lincoln, NE, for adding an air scrubber is about $800 per office.

Some models can eliminate up to 90% of airborne microorganisms, as well as 99% of surface microorganisms, including black mold, staph, and MRSA. They work by using UV light and sanitizing the air from general office circulation. After desensitizing, the air comes out of the general circulation air system charged, and could almost be compared to having similar properties of hydrogen peroxide. This air, in a way, helps control microorganisms on different surfaces at the office. By helping rid your office of a wide variety of germs and allergens, air scrubbers can help reduce exposure to aerosols, too.

The timing of how fast the air can be cleaned can be calculated by how many cubic feet of air is moved through an air conditioning system. The best way to find out is to measure your office and to know your air conditioner system’s specifications.

Q: Which brand of air scrubber do our dentists prefer ?

ActivePure® is the only Certified Space Technology that was created in cooperation with NASA to protect the health of astronauts onboard the International Space Station.

certified space technology
NASA logo

#4. ERV System (Energy Recovery Ventilator)

What is an ERV system? An ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator) allows fresh air into a building while retaining pre-conditioned cooling or heating. If the outside temperature is 0ºF, and the indoor air temperature is 70ºF, your HVAC unit must heat the mixture of outside air and the building’s return air to maintain an indoor building temperature of 70ºF. This is similar to your lungs as they can bring cold air in and make it warm. ERVs bring in new air and make it less humid, less hot, or less cold. An ERV brings in more outside air and makes it more accustomed to our liking by changing the temperature or humidity. An ERV doesn’t clean or detox the air, so if you live in a city with pollution, an ERV will bring more air in, but you will also need an air scrubber to help clean it.

To conclude, not every dental office needs to have this system installed. Rather, this option is a way to bring more air into the dental office if desired to do so.

#5. Stand alone Air Purification Machine or APM

A standard air purification machine (APM) can play a significant role in reducing the transmittable bio-aerosols. The placement of APMs should be close to patients while performing aerosol producing procedures.

There are multiple options available to the dental industry to aid in cleaning the indoor air. Furthermore, when choosing a solution, be mindful of these criteria:

  • Filtration System – The filtration and the quality of the filters used. How long do they last? 
  • Air Flow Capacity – Consider the cubic feet per minute (CFM). Make sure that the system can help efficiently clean the air in the room fast enough. 
  • Sound Level – Air moving through an APM will generate sound. An APM that creates too much sound will have a negative effect on those working near it.

Q: Which APM did we choose for Nebraska Family Dentistry locations? 

After researching APM options, we purchased IQAir ProHealth Plus for our home and dental offices. We chose this APM to help remove harmful pathogens from the air.

#6. HVE and the Use of HVE Systems for Hygiene Procedures

High velocity evacuation, or HVE, used during all procedures, has made researchers aware of the potential effectiveness. HVE is effective in the control of aerosols when appropriately used. Some tests show a 95% reduction in aerosols with the use of HVE alone. Likewise, it is as effective when adjusted at optimal velocity and when positioned close to the operating site.

Can you capture 100 % of aerosols and splatter using HVE? Can the use of HVE prevent aerosols when multiple providers work at the office at the same time? 

We looked at a few studies to find the answers: 

Study #1: Aerosols and splatter in dentistry: A brief review of the literature and infection control implications. STEPHEN K. HARREL and JOHN MOLINARI J Am Dent Assoc 2004;135;429-437)

Conclusion of this study: HVEs do not work well if used separately from a HVE suction tip.

Study #2: Efficacy of High-volume Evacuator in Aerosol Reduction: Truth or Myth? A Clinical and Microbiological Study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4206761/

Conclusion of this study: The conclusion of the study is that to work properly, the placement of HVE devices should be approximately 6-15 mm away from the active ultrasonic tip or air polisher.

According to those studies, HVE works only when used properly. Consequently, it is easier to do so for dentists while working with a dental assistant. What about hygienists and collecting aerosols while they use ultrasonic instruments? 

At Nebraska Family Dentistry we use Ivory ReLeaf. The system is an innovative, hands-free HVE suction device that conveniently connects to existing dental vacuum systems. ReLeaf assists with evacuation, retraction and maintaining a dry field during various dental and hygiene procedures, ultimately helping improve air quality in dental offices.

The answer about HVE’s efficiency: By using HVE properly and using in conjunction with the Ivory ReLeaf system, the amounts of aerosols/ splatter can be dramatically reduced and making the air to be clean and free of pathogens.

#7. Use of a Rubber Dam

A rubber dam isolates the teeth that need to be treated from the saliva, soft tissues, and tongue of the oral cavity. Isolation with a rubber dam will reduce the number of microorganisms in the aerosols generated during treatment. This is in addition to the value of rubber dams in providing a dry area and increased access for visibility when performing restorative work.

#8. Use of an Isolite

The use of an Isolite, from Zyris systems, is a versatile clinical option for practices that want state-of-the-art dental isolation advantage and an ability to catch aerosols without using a rubber dam. We have incorporated an Isolite system in every operatory of every one of our Nebraska Family Dentistry locations.

Isolite(R) Systems, Inc., from Zyris, is the industry leader in dental isolation technology. The newest member of the Isolite product line – the Isovac(TM) Dental Isolation Adapter, connects Isolite system to HVE.

Example of a device used to create clean air quality in dental offices and help reduce aerosols and splatter in dentistry.
Image of a patient that is using an Isolite to help create clean air quality in dental offices and reduce aerosols and splatter in dentistry.

#9 Hydrogen Peroxide or Iodine Rinse Prior to Any Treatment or Exam Decreasing the Loads of Pathogens in Patients’ Mouths

The best mouthwash to kill coronavirus?

The answer is not clear yet. But, an antimicrobial mouth rinse is thought to reduce the number of oral microbes. Listerine, commonly used as a mouth rinse, may not be effective in killing coronavirus.  Additionally, since coronavirus is vulnerable to oxidation, any mouth rinse containing oxidative agents such as 1% hydrogen peroxide or 0.2% povidone is recommended to reduce the salivary load of oral microbes, including potential coronavirus. 

Learn more at:
Efficacy of Povidone-Iodine Gargle/Mouthwash Against Respiratory and Oral Tract Pathogens

#10. Use of N95 Masks

Q: How Big Are Coronavirus Particles and Can N95 masks protect?

Scientists have used electron microscopes to measure how big the coronavirus is. Coronavirus particles (fancy scientific name “virions”) are spheres with diameters of approximately 0.125 microns (125 nm). The smallest particles are 0.06 microns, and the largest is 0.14 microns.

Learn more about masks capturing coronavirus particles here.

Image displaying several different sizes of contaminants that could be encountered in dentistry. This is why controlling aerosols and splatter in dentistry is so important.

Q: Do N95 masks provide a 95% protection level against airborne viruses, and are they more efficient than traditional surgical masks?

Answer: The results indicate that the penetration of particles, like virions, through the NIOSH-certified N95 masks (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), is significantly less than with surgical masks.

An N95 FFR is a type of mask which removes particles from the air breathed through it. These masks or respirators filter out at least 95% of very small (0.3 micron) particles. N95 FFRs are capable of filtering out all types of particles, including bacteria and viruses.

Q: What is the main difference between N95 and surgical masks?

Answer: The fit of the mask is a major difference. Masks, especially N95 masks, should fit tightly while surgical masks do not provide a tight enough fit thereby allowing aerosols to sneak underneath.

N95 masks reduce the wearer’s exposure to airborne particles, from small particle aerosols to large droplets. N95 respirators are tight-fitting respirators that filter out at least 95% of particles in the air, including large and small particles.

When properly fitted and worn, minimal leakage occurs around edges of the respirator when the user inhales. This means almost all of the air is directed through the filter media.

Certainly, some surgical masks may let a significant portion of airborne viruses penetrate their filters, providing a meager amount of protection against aerosolized infectious agents when speaking in the size range of 10 to 80 nm. Therefore, it should also be noted that surgical masks are primarily designed to protect the environment from those wearing the masks. Respirators are supposed to protect the wearer from the environment.

All in all, the N95 masks do provide a level of protection that a standard mask does not offer.

You can learn more about masks and their differences:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. N95 Respirators and Surgical Masks. https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2009/10/14/n95/ Accessed 4/1/20.

Conclusion about Controlling Aerosols and Splatter in Dentistry:

Aerosols and splatter generated during dental procedures have the potential to spread the infection to dental personnel and others in the dental office. As with all infection control procedures, it is possible to minimize the risk with the methods described in this article.

To learn about high infection control standards used daily at all Nebraska Family Dentistry check out this page:

Applying high infection control standards are critical while applying techniques for creating clean air quality in dental offices. Combining high infection control standards coupled with the methods for creating clean air, the design of all Nebraska Family Dentistry offices helps keep team members, dentists and patients remain healthy and well.

This article was written by Dr. Kathryn Alderman, a biological dentist, mercury-free dentist in the Lincoln, NE area serving patients at various locations throughout the community.

Dr. Alderman has extensive training in biochemistry and is passionate about helping patients live healthier, happier lives. This Lincoln, NE dentist knows that having a healthy mouth can greatly impact a person’s overall well-being. Learn more about biological dentistry here.

You can schedule with this Lincoln, NE dentist, or her partners, online 24/7 at a Nebraska Family Dentistry Location near you. This “dentist near me” serves the local communities close to Lincoln. Some of the communities include Waverly, Davey, Raymond, Garland, Ceresco, Greenwood, and Malcolm, Roca, Bennet, Firth, Crete, Hickman, and many more!

If you have questions or would like to start a wellness program in your dental office, please email us at nebraskafamilydentistry@gmail.com

Other articles you may be interested in:

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High infection control at Nebraska Family Dentistry

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Wellness Program at Nebraska Family Dentistry

To learn more about creating clean air at dental offices, check out those links:

Evaluating the Contamination of Aerosols and Splatter in Dentistry

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Preventing Infectious Disease and Comforting Kids

How can we help kids avoid anxiety after hearing about the spread of an infectious disease?

Kids listen to adults, the TV, and the radio, all who talk about the worries and concerns of contagious diseases.

There are ads for flu shots and cold remedies, nightly media coverage about rampant epidemics all over the world, and pundits predicting whether these contagious diseases could overtake this country.

children togetherness avoiding infectious disease

How is this affecting our children? Are they asking questions? Are they curious about where these germs may be lurking, and whether they or their families are in any danger? The answer is likely going to be yes. It is also likely that your child might be experiencing some form of anxiety due to all of the uncertainty surrounding this new virus, and you are likely wondering how you can help them. So, we have a few tips.

The bottom line is that kids are kids, and the stories surrounding the Novel (new) Coronavirus could be reasonably extravagant. It’s also likely not helping seeing others in the community wearing masks, which is almost always a guaranteed question. But, there are simple, practical ways that you can help your child.

mother comforting child over infectious disease
  • Listen – Make time to sit down and visit with your child. Doing this will help you understand just how much they know. Listening will also give you time to answer questions that they might have and provide them with the facts.

  • Be a good role model: Remain Calm – Be certain of your facts and always be sure to correct misinformation. Share facts from sources such as the CDC or the World Health Organization. Let your child know that there are sick people all over the world and they can help their family and themselves stay safe by washing their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water. Also, explaining that very few kids are sick is crucial as it can help reiterate the importance of handwashing.

  • Let your child know that their anxiety doesn’t need to control them – Be sure to empathize with your child. If your child seems to be continuously seeking reassurance from you (especially regarding the Coronavirus), teach them healthy coping skills. Instead, ask your child questions. Doing this might help challenge their minds enough so that they can refocus their energy. Once they become comfortable and have developed the skills to answer their own questions, they won’t need to ask you for reassurance and this can help lessen their anxiety because they will feel more “in control.”
  • Check out this book explaining the coronavirus

The Glo Germ kit demonstrates the importance of proper handwashing. This kit is used by having students rub Glo Germ lotion on their hands, which simulates the spread of germs in the form of thousands of tiny plastic fluorescent dots. Next, each student was asked to wash their hands as they usually would. Once their hands were washed, a fluorescent ultraviolet lamp was used to “spot” any remaining “germs.” Under the light, the plastic “germs” fluoresce or glow brightly, so that the student may easily see them.

glo germ kit for infectious disease

It’s often hard for kids to grasp the importance of clean hands. But why? Often because tiny bacteria and viruses found on hands can’t be seen with the naked eye. This Glo Germ Kit, however, demonstrates where harmful germs and bacteria can be found, and it also shows just how easily the “bad stuff” can go away, when they wash their hands properly.

hand glow glo germ on infectious disease

Overall, the science fair went well, and the kids were excited about using the special powder, lotion, and seeing their hands shine under the UV light. With this kit, the kids were able to demonstrate that washing their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds is all that is needed to wash off harmful bacteria and germs. They also demonstrated that washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds was better than using sanitizer. However, if water and soap are not available, sanitizer is better than using nothing at all.

In short, doing this science fair project helped them understand that hands carry tons of germs that can’t be seen (as demonstrated in the picture below of our Science fair poster). As the world faces growing concerns of a new virus and we continue to learn the facts, it is critical that everyone does their part and makes time for handwashing. Handwashing is simply one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. As a dentist, the importance of washing hands is something we do at all times. 

video time on infectious disease awareness tips with kids

Before we go, we’ve shared with you some short, fun videos for you and your kiddos to watch while you’re doing your part at home and keeping the spread of germs to a minimum.

  1. Here’s a fun and interactive lesson on just how effective soap is when it comes to keeping germs away: watch it here and try it out!

  2. See what Hamilton Health can show you about just how effective proper hand washing is when it’s done for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.

  3. Finally, see how germs spread. Watch this video from Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center.

We hope our information is useful and remember, be sure to wash your hands with soap AND water for at least 20 seconds AND avoid touching your face.

high infection control


We take infection control very seriously at all Nebraska Family Dentistry locations.

Click here to view our high standards of infection control at Nebraska Family Dentistry.