Dental Air Vac
Many people who come into our office for treatment ask, “What is THAT thing? It looks like an elephant!” Well, we thought we’d take this blog post to explain what THAT thing is!
This is our Dental Air Vac. You may be wondering what it is used for. Well, we use our Air Vac for many things, but primarily it’s use is for safe amalgam removal. This vacuum has 3 filters in it to safely remove amalgam vapors from the air. First, it has a pleated pre-filter that is able to capture particulate down to about 7 microns. The second, and most important filter is the HEPA filter that is able to capture and contain particulate down to 0.3 micron. Finally, the last filter is a blended carbon filter and is specifically designed to capture and adsorb particulate finer than 0.3 micron as well as sub-micron odors and vapors. These filters are safely replaced every 3-6 months or 6-12 months, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations.
So what we do is we turn this filter on and bring the end of the “trunk” down close to the patient’s nose and mouth. When we remove old amalgams, we use what is called a “rubber dam” and that prevents amalgam particles from being swallowed, while at the same time the Dental Air Vac is removing the harmful mercury vapors from the air. This is important because the mercury vapor coming off the tooth as it is being drilled is virtually undetectable to the naked eye, but it is the most harmful form of mercury, so having the vacuum filter close to the patient’s face is extremely important, not only to you, but to us as well! We use masks, glasses and gloves, but we like to take the extra measure of protection to help our patients and staff.
This filter is also used in our office when we have patients who are chemically sensitive. We like to make sure all of our patients are well taken care of and are having their particular needs met. When someone comes to us with a chemical sensitivity, we can use this vacuum to clean the air before, during and after their appointment. Although we do not use harmful chemicals in our office, some of the the dental products we use have a scent to them, so this helps to pull away that scent before it reaches the patient’s nose.
So next time you come in for treatment or for an exam, be sure to check out our Dental Air Vac! We are always happy to explain it’s use to anyone who asks.
I hope you are all doing well! – Richard Stickney