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Characteristics of Blood Containing Aerosols Generated by Common Powered Dental Instruments

A study was conducted on the characteristics of blood containing aerosols generated by powered dental instruments. Rates of aerosol production, particle size distribution, particle halflife, and particle blood content were determined in aerosols generated by a dental syringe, an air turbine handpiece, and an air driven, slow speed handpiece during activities simulating intraoral procedures. Aerosols of smaller particle size were consistently generated from the syringe and the turbine water spray handpiece compared with those generated by the slow speed handpiece. Up to 83% of the 0.06 to 2.5 sized micron aerosol particles passed through the filters of nine different kinds of surgical masks commonly used by dental professionals. The author concludes that the data support an airborne route for possible hepatitis-B infection for dental professionals.

American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal, 56(7):670-676, 1995

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