Airborne spread of disease--the implications for dentistry

J Calif Dent Assoc. 2004 Nov;32(11):901-6.


The potential for the airborne spread of disease has been recognized for many years. Recent studies have shown that this mode for disease transmission is capable of spreading a fatal disease such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome over a wide area. Many dental procedures produce extensive aerosols and splatter that are routinely contaminated with bacteria, viruses, and blood. In the past, the potential for these aerosols and splatter to be a vector for disease spread has not been emphasized in dental infection control. Recently published data shows a need to reassess the potential for dental aerosols and splatter to spread disease and the need for their control. Simple and inexpensive methods for the control of dental aerosols and splatter are given. Dental personnel are urged to make the control of aerosols a standard part of their infection control procedures.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor / prevention & control*
  • Communicable Diseases / transmission
  • Dental High-Speed Equipment
  • Humans
  • Infection Control, Dental / methods*
  • Protective Devices