Evaluation of the spatter-reduction effectiveness of two dry-field isolation techniques

J Am Dent Assoc. 2012 Nov;143(11):1199-204. doi: 10.14219/jada.archive.2012.0064.


Background: The authors conducted a study to compare the effectiveness of two dry-field isolation techniques with that of a control technique (no isolation) in reducing spatter from a dental operative site.

Methods: The authors designed a benchtop experiment to evaluate spatter patterns after performing simulated occlusal surface preparations on three typodont teeth in a dental manikin. Fluorescein dye served as the marker to enable visualization of the spatter distribution. The authors compared the effectiveness of a nonisolated control consisting of high-volume evacuation (HVE) alone with that of two dry-field isolation techniques: a dental dam with HVE and the Isolite system (Isolite Systems, Santa Barbara, Calif).

Results: The authors performed a two-way analysis of variance. Both the Isolite device and the dental dam with HVE exhibited a significant decrease in the number of contaminated squares (P < .001) compared with that for the nonisolated control. In addition, overall, the results showed no statistically significant difference between the Isolite system and the dental dam with HVE (P = .126).

Conclusions: The study results showed that use of a dental dam with HVE or the Isolite system significantly reduced spatter overall compared with use of HVE alone.

Clinical implications: Isolation with a dental dam and HVE or with the Isolite system appears to aid in the reduction of spatter during operative dental procedures, potentially reducing exposure to oral pathogens.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • Air Microbiology*
  • Dental Cavity Preparation / instrumentation
  • Dental Cavity Preparation / methods*
  • Dental High-Speed Equipment
  • Equipment Contamination / prevention & control
  • Equipment Design
  • Fluoresceins
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Humans
  • Infection Control, Dental / methods*
  • Manikins
  • Models, Dental
  • Mouth Protectors
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Rotation
  • Rubber Dams*
  • Suction / instrumentation*
  • Torque
  • Water / chemistry


  • Aerosols
  • Fluoresceins
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Water