Type of Aspirator System Impacts COVID-19 Infection Rates in Dental Clinics

Dentistry Today
Courtesy of JDR Clinical & Translational Research


Courtesy of JDR Clinical & Translational Research

Though high-volume aspirators are recommended in dental clinics during the COVID-19 pandemic, the type of aspirating system can significantly affect the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection among dental specialists, according to a team of researchers from Russia and China.

This retrospective cohort study of 157 healthcare workers in Ekaterinburg, Russia, compared data on the seroprevalence of COVID-19 from dental clinics using three different types of aspirating systems.

Clinics A and B used a V6000 aspirating system with a vacuum controller and high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, but the system in clinic A functioned in dry mode, and the system in clinic B functioned in semi-dry mode. Clinic C used the VS9000, which discharges air into the dental operatory, closely resembling natural dispersion, and no HEPA filter.

The estimated prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection was 11.5% (19 healthcare workers) across all clinics over the five-month period from May to August 2020.

The prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection was significantly higher in clinic C, which did not use HEPA filters, and was significantly lower in clinic A, which did use HEPA filters and operated in dry mode.

In dry suction systems, the separation of aspirated fluids from the air occurs at every treatment unit, whereas in semi-dry suction systems, the separation occurs via a central separation unit connected to multiple treatment units.

“No comparative studies have investigated the effects of the type of aspirating system on the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection among dentists and dental assistants,” said JDR Clinical & Translational Research editor in chief Jocelyne S. Feine.

“Based on the results of this pilot study, we recommend the use of aspirating systems installed with HEPA filters that evacuate and dissipate aerosols into specialized areas. Studies that provide a deeper understanding of this topic are warranted,” said Feine.

The study, “SARS-CoV-2 Seropositivity Among Dental Staff and the Role of Aspirating Systems,” was published by JDR Clinical & Translational Research.

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