Discover the Technology Used to Clean & Sanitize the Air Inside Our Dental Clinics
Georgian Dental has taken every precaution to maintain a safe environment in our clinics for all patients and staff, and that includes specialized air filtration and sanitization equipment to clean and scrub the air in all interior spaces.
We are all doing our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19 through our communities. Precautions such as maintaining social distancing, wearing a face mask that covers your mouth and nose, regularly washing hands, and keeping a very close watch for any symptoms are all important during this difficult and trying time.
In addition, there are many behind-the-scenes protections that are working to keep us safe in other ways. This includes specialized technology that is used to help clean and sanitize the air throughout our clinics. We believe it’s important to keep our patients and their families informed on how we are working to provide a safe environment for dental care, so we’re going to review our various air filtration, aerosol containment, and environmental sanitization technologies and explain how they work. However, before we get to that, let’s take a short moment and discuss why clean, sanitized air is necessary as part of our enhanced safety measures.
Why Is Clean Air So Important During COVID-19?
First and foremost, it’s critical to understand the different ways that COVID-19 can be transmitted from one person to another.
Airborne transmission of the COVID-19 virus can occur when contaminated droplets from one person enter the air through methods such as coughing, sneezing, and exhaling. If those contaminated droplets then enter the mouth or nose of another person, then they can also become infected.
COVID-19 can also be transmitted through contact with a surface that has become contaminated, and then subsequently touching the eyes, nose, or mouth. This type of transmission can also occur through handshakes, hugs, and other types of physical contact.
Keeping the air clean through a variety of different methods helps to minimize the spread and risk of airborne transmission, as well as reduce the potential for airborne particles to contaminate surfaces. By layering on multiple air sanitization technologies, the level of protection and safety increases.
Georgian Dental utilizes a three-tiered approach to air sanitization, including:
- In-room HEPA filtration units
- Portable ‘Vapor Vac’ stations
- Ozone air treatment system
Let’s take a look at these three very important pieces of equipment in the Georgian Dental clinic, and how each one works to create a safe environment.
How Does a HEPA Filter Work?
HEPA filtration systems are common in many homes and commercial spaces due to their versatility in controlling several different environmental conditions. HEPA filters are able to efficiently control airborne allergens such as dust, pet dander, and pollen, as well as filter and destroy germs that are present in the air, such as airborne types of viruses and bacteria.
HEPA filtration units utilize a high-efficiency multi-stage filter that first screens out large airborne particles, followed by a filter layer specifically engineered for odours and gases, and then passes the air through a very fine micro-screen that traps ultra-small particles including living bacteria, viruses, allergens, and sub-micron dusts.
Each examination room and treatment space inside the Georgian Dental clinics is equipped with its own HEPA filtration unit that runs continuously, and each unit is specifically set for maximum germ control efficiency.
How Does a Vapor Vac System Work?
Also known as oral aerosol vacuums, or sometimes colloquially as ‘vac stations’, these portable air filtration systems provide precision containment of airborne particles, vapours, and mists that may be created during certain types of dental treatments.
Vapor vac systems consist of two main components. The base of the unit contains the vacuum motor and air filters, and is often attached to wheels or casters for easy movement around the clinic space. Attached to the base unit is a long adjustable hose that can be directed and placed within very close proximity to the patient’s mouth.
Once activated, the vapor vac produces strong airflow that pulls away any airborne particles, directing them through the hose and containing them safely in the filters. These units are very effective at containing any particles that become airborne, and preventing them from moving through the air to any other areas or spaces within the clinic.
How Does Ozone Air Treatment Work?
While the HEPA filtration systems and vapor vac units are visible inside the clinic and treatment areas, Georgian Dental’s ozone air treatment technology works behind the scenes. Ozone is a naturally occurring molecule that has unique properties. If you’ve ever noticed a peculiar smell lingering in the air during or just after a thunderstorm, then you’ve smelled ozone. Ozone gas has antimicrobial effects that make it an ideal solution for the sanitization of air and surfaces within interior spaces.
It’s important to note that the use of ozone as an air and surface sanitization method requires a very specific procedure, which Georgian Dental strictly follows in detail. In high concentrations, ozone gas can be harmful to people if directly inhaled, so our ozone treatment system only operates at night when the clinic is empty. As ozone gas dissipates very quickly once the daily overnight treatment is completed, the air in the clinic becomes perfectly safe for people again within just a few minutes.
The system works by flooding the clinic spaces with an ozone/air mixture by way of the HVAC system. As the ozone moves throughout the spaces, it’s antimicrobial effects completely sanitize everything it comes in contact with, including all surfaces and equipment, as well as the actual air itself. Ozone also has the effect of removing any lingering odors or smells in the air, leaving the clinic fresh and ready for staff and patients in the morning.
Using a Multi-Layered Approach to Clean and Safe Air
While any one of these technologies works well to provide a level of environmental control, they truly work best when used together in synergy. Georgian Dental recognizes the importance of using multiple safety measures and different types of protective equipment in order to provide the most secure environment for our patients and staff. Just as we use multiple pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep ourselves safe during COVID-19, we use multiple different types of air filtration and sanitization technologies.
Each piece of equipment we use to keep the air clean and safe works in tandem with the others to create a three-tiered approach to air control. The vapor vac system works to contain any particles before they even have a chance to enter the air in the clinic, while the HEPA filter works to extract any airborne particles from the surrounding environment, and the nightly ozone treatment completely sanitizes the air in all spaces and all surfaces from the floor to the ceiling, and everything in between.
Complete Dedication to Keeping Patients and Staff Safe
Keeping the air clean and sanitized in the clinic is an essential and important tactic, and it works together with many other tactics we have adopted as part of our overall COVID-19 safety strategy. We also use strict screening processes on all patients and staff prior to entry, including temperature checks, pulse checks, and symptom evaluation questions. In addition, appropriate PPE is worn by all staff, face masks are required to be worn by all individuals while in the clinic, hand sanitizer is used frequently, and social distancing guidelines are followed whenever possible.
There are many other safety measures and protective protocols that are in place at Georgian Dental that demonstrate our commitment to providing a secure environment for all patients, their families, and our staff. For a complete list of all COVID-19 protections that are in place at Georgian Dental, please refer to our COVID-19 dental clinic safety details page.
If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to book your next appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to seeing you soon!