When visualizing a dental office environment, you likely picture a crisp and clean space. But the cleanliness of your office goes beyond disinfecting surfaces and ensuring that each hygienist’s tools are properly sanitized between patients.
Air quality is sometimes overlooked altogether and other times given only a quick thought when a practice is first being set up. But air quality is a major component of maintaining your dental office as a safe and sanitary environment for your team and patients.
In light of the global pandemic, many businesses, particularly healthcare offices, have renewed a focus on air quality. And indeed, one of the most fascinating statistical takeaways on air quality we’ve had in years stemmed from experiences and studies as a result of the pandemic: Air purification could kill COVID-19 particles.
According to The University of Texas MD Anderson Center, “But if a HEPA system is run over a period of time, it can take out a big chunk of viruses—somewhere in the high ninetieth percentile (99.94 to 99.97%). And long enough exposure to the UV light in an air purifying device can disable some viruses, including COVID-19.”
For that reason, and others we’re going to discuss today, it’s a great idea to optimize your air quality beyond the standard HVAC system.
The Air Exchange Equation
First, to fully grasp the level of air purification your office would benefit from, let’s do a little math. Air changes per hour, often abbreviated as ACPH or ACH and sometimes called air change rate, is a measure of the air volume added to or removed from a space in a single hour, divided by the volume of the space.
This calculation can give you a big-picture understanding of the quality of your air based on several factors:
- The number of team members you have
- The number of patients you’re seeing
- The size of your space
- The procedures you’re performing
Air change rates are important to know because if that rate is too high, you could be wasting air that you are also paying to heat or cool. And if it’s too low, what can result is a buildup of toxins, viruses, pathogens, etc.
That brings us back to why the work you’re doing in a dental office makes this even more relevant.
Dental Procedures Shed Particles You Want to Eliminate
While it’s good to properly maintain air quality in your home and any other business, this is particularly important for a dental office because of the tools you’re using. Saliva, respiration, blown air, water, and other particulates can release microscopic droplets into the air.
On top of those elements, debris and bacteria released into the air during polishing and cleaning can be an issue as well. Not to mention, dental professionals and hygienists use cleaning products more frequently than a residential space would require, which adds particles to the air that can become harmful in large doses.
Because of the volume of such factors within a dental office, creating the ideal environment for your practice is likely not possible by only using high suction settings and a central air conditioning system.
If you have equipped your AC system with HEPA filters, that is a great start. But the best option is to pair that approach with a top-notch portable purifier or two.
Why You Need a Dual-Filter Purifier
The dual setup for your dental office air purifier is essential, because the two filters remove different things from the air.
HEPA filters handle dust, pollen, dander, mold, and other allergens. Carbon filters can eliminate smoke, fumes, carbon monoxide, chemicals like VOCS, and other pollutants.
When browsing purification solutions, you want to find one that features HEPA and carbon filters, or a combination of the like. That way, you’ll remove all types of undesired particles from the air.