The expression “necessity is the mother of all invention” soon sprang to mind when the Covid Pandemic first broke. As a dental practice our first thoughts are always for our patients and, in the case of Covid19, it was about how to open up the practice and provide vital dental services in as safe an environment as possible for our patients and team.
Our cross infection protocols at Wayside Dental have always been second to none but, as a potentially deadly airborne virus, Covid posed a unique challenge. Owner and principal dentist, Dr Robin Horton, immediately went to work on researching air purification systems. He had heard about these since the SARS outbreak, and how these were used in healthcare settings in South Korea to mitigate the risk of transmission and generally provide cleaner air for the clinicians too.
After many hours research and after reviewing data on the effectiveness of different air purification systems in healthcare settings we were convinced investing in state-of-the-art ventilation equipment would make our dental practice in Harpenden the safest dental environment possible for our staff and patients.
By the time we reopened in June 2020 we had installed Radic8 Viruskiller Clean Air Filters in 6 of our dental surgeries and DentaAir purification units in our 7th surgery and waiting room. These air purification filters use HEPA or High-Efficiency Particulate Air technology and UV chambers which, according to Dentistry Magazine, provide the Gold Standard for air purification.
This has now additionally been backed up by a study published in Nature ‘Real-world data shows that filters clean Covid-causing virus from air’. This study took place at Addenbrookes hospital and measured Covid viral particles in the air with the filters on and with the filters off. They found NO covid particles in the air when the air filters were turned on. This matches our own study where we used particle counters (measuring <0.3 microns) to measure air quality with the filters on and found the air quality vastly improved. Air filtration also protects against other airborne pathogens and impurities in the air.
Any successful dentist knows the key to having a long and successful career is to establish trust between the patient and dentist. Everyone who walks through our door needs to instantly feel they’re going to receive first class dentistry from a dental team who cares. Part of that trust comes from seeing a dental practice constantly investing in their staff and equipment. When we set up Wayside Dental Practice in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, the plan was always to think long-term and put our patients first. So, investing in good clean air and highly ventilated dental rooms is just one piece of the dental care jigsaw but, thankfully, it seems to have paid off. We’ve not recorded a single case of Covid transmission in our practice since re-opening back in June 2020. Long may that continue!
If you’re interested in reading more details on how successful top air filters are cleaning the Covid-causing virus from air, you can click on this article from Nature Magazine.