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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


DISCACCIATI, José Augusto César; SANDER, Herbert Haueisen; CASTILHO, Lia Silva de  and  RESENDE, Vera Lúcia Silva. Confirmation of spatter dispersion during dental work . Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1998, vol.3, n.2, pp.84-87. ISSN 1680-5348.

The professionals and patients involved in dental examinations are at risk for infection by various disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and fungi, such as those responsible for hepatitis, tuberculosis, herpes, and AIDS. It is known that aerosols and spatter containing pathogenic microorganisms can spread during an examination. Nevertheless, some dental clinics are designed to have multiple examination areas in the same room, with no physical barriers between them. The objective of this study was to verify the reach of spatter resulting from the use of a triple syringe and high-rotation turbine during five simulated exams in a collective clinic, bearing in mind that spatter can contain the patient's saliva and blood. To facilitate tracking of the spatter, aniline dye (pink, blue, yellow, green, and brown) was added to the water in the appropriate receptacle in each of the five units. The room, the equipment, and the patient's and operator's clothing were covered with white paper. A high concentration of spatter was observed on the chair, the operator, and the floor of each unit, and it also appeared on the chairs and trays of the surrounding units. The maximum distance reached by spatter was 1.82 m from a point on the chair corresponding to the position of the patient's mouth. During real simultaneous examinations, the surrounding chairs and their patients and operators, as well as the trays containing sterilized instruments, are within spatter range. Therefore, there is a real possibility of cross-infection, and physical barriers should be placed between the units. This study also confirmed the need for protection of the operator's face, body, hair, and arms, since these regions were heavily affected by spatter.

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