Three things all dental practices should remember about isolation

March 24, 2015

When it comes to making things work properly in your dental practice, isolation and retraction are the name of the game. Without these two things, it’s hard for your practice to operate smoothly in the clinical setting.

When it comes to making things work properly in your dental practice, isolation and retraction are the name of the game. Without these two things, it’s hard for your practice to operate smoothly in the clinical setting.

We talked to Modern Dental Assistant Editorial Advisory Board member Tija Hunter about how evacuation works in her practice and here are three nuggets of knowledge she shared.

1.      Know the difference between high-speed and low-speed evacuation.

“Remember, low-speed is for liquid like blood and saliva,” Hunter said. “High-speed helps get rid of the debris. If you’re using one for the other, that just doesn’t work.”

2.      Explaining your evacuation techniques will help the patient.

“It’s about making the patient feel comfortable in every way possible,” Hunter said. “If you make sure the patient understands that you are doing everything in your power for their safety, it makes a big difference. Explain to them how you’re taking steps to keep them safe, not swallow anything, and not have any cross-contamination. They’ve all heard horror stories about others’ dental experiences. Take that fear away from them.”

3.      Heed the CDC warning

The CDC has said, “Backflow from low-volume saliva ejectors occurs when the pressure in the patient's mouth is less than that in the evacuator. When patients close their lips and form a seal around the tip of the ejector, a partial vacuum is created. Research suggests that in these situations previously suctioned fluids might be retracted into the patient's mouth. Furthermore, studies have shown that gravity pulls fluid back toward the patient's mouth whenever a length of the suction tubing holding the tip is positioned above the patient's mouth or when a saliva injector is used at the same time as other evacuation (high volume) equipment.”

With that in mind, Hunter’s practice changed their philosophy.

“We used to tell our patients to suck on the saliva ejector like a straw to get saliva out of their mouth,” Hunter said. “The CDC has said when patients do this, a partial vacuum is formed and research suggest that previously suctioned fluids might be retracted back into the patients mouth. We stopped using that technique to keep from contaminating our patients.”

Want to learn more about an evacuation product that can help your practice protect your patients and make your clinical life easier? Watch our exclusive look at Mr. Thirsty from Zirc shot at the recent Chicago Midwinter Meeting.