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How Does A Compressed Air Filter Benefit Your Dental Clinic?

by Sally Burke

If your dental clinic uses a compressed air system to dry the surfaces of your clients' teeth during treatments, you may want to examine the stability and performance of your compressed air machine's filter. Using the wrong compressed air filter during your treatments could potentially put your clients at risk for bacterial infections of the mouth. Your current air filter may not have the capabilities to remove contaminants, such as bacteria, from the machine. Here's what you should know about the right compressed air filter and the reasons you need to obtain it for your clinic.  

What Are the Risks for Using the Wrong Air Filter?

Although you may take every precaution necessary to protect your clients during their visits, you may still place your patients at risk for oral health problems if your compressed air filter can't remove water and moisture from the system properly. Water and moisture left inside the compressed air machine can harbor and nourish bacteria, which may eventually spread to your clients' mouths during care.

Compressed air systems typically come with different pieces that work together to dry your clients' teeth during procedures like the placement of dental crowns. One of the most important pieces is the air receiver. The air receiver works in three steps. It:

  • Sucks air from the treatment room
  • Absorbs or compresses the moisture from the air it removed from the room, which makes it warm and wet
  • Releases the compressed warm and wet air through the small handpiece you use to dry your clients' teeth, or the materials you use for your clients' teeth

If the air filter isn't the right size or thickness, it can't absorb the moisture that stays inside the air receiver after you use it. This moisture eventually attracts bacteria. The bacteria may clog up the air receiver, where it builds up.

Every time you use the air compressor, the bacteria can blow out of the handpiece and into your clients' mouths. This exposure to contaminated air may also introduce moisture back into the treatment room, on the surfaces of your dental equipment, and even in your face, eyes and mouth. As a result, your staff and your clients may experience bacterial infections.

What Are the Benefits to Using the Right Air Filter?

If you want to avoid contaminating your clients, treatment room and staff members, choose an air filter that has better moisture-removal abilities. Your air compressor provider may offer a number of filtering products that absorb moisture before it enters the air receiver. This feature lowers the amount of moisture that stays inside the receiver after patient care.

In addition, a good filter may have different screens that block contaminants like bacteria from entering the handpiece when you use it. Screens are the first lines of defense against bacteria. As contaminants move from the air retriever to the handpiece, they stick to the screens.

The element is the second defense method against bacteria because it stops any contaminants that make it pass the screens. The element may have a pleated or perforated outer layer that allows water and moisture through but stops bacteria in their tracks.

There are other benefits to using a better air compressor filter, including:

  • Warmer airflow from the compressor's hand piece: The warm air helps control discomfort in clients who have tooth sensitivity to cold or cool air
  • Happier clients: Comfortable clients may cooperate better if they don't experience discomfort from your handpiece
  • Cleaner clinic: A cleaner treatment room helps you meet the infection control guidelines for dental clinics, which includes preventing dangerous pathogens from entering your clinic's air environment

If you really want to create the best treatment environment in your dental clinic, ask your compressor contractor about obtaining a new compressed air dryer for your compressor system. The dryer removes moisture from the air before it passes through the filter, which reduces bacteria growth and buildup even further.

Preventing bacterial infections in your clinic begins with the right infection control guidelines. The right air compressor filter will help ensure that you meet these guidelines. If you would like more information about compressed air filters, contact your contractor for assistance today. Click here for more information.