Dispersion of Aerosols Generated during Dental Therapy

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Oct 27;18(21):11279. doi: 10.3390/ijerph182111279.


The novel coronavirus pandemic has resulted in an urgent need to study the risk of infection from aerosols generated during dental care and to conduct a review of infection controls. However, existing studies on aerosol particles related to dental treatment have mainly evaluated only the scattering range. Few studies have been conducted on the specifics of the generation of aerosol particles in clinical settings, their mechanisms and patterns of distribution throughout open or enclosed spaces, the duration that they remain suspended in air, and the amount and size of particles present. To minimize the influence of background particles, laser lights, a high-sensitivity camera, and particle counters were used in a large super clean laboratory to investigate the dynamics of aerosols generated during the operation of dental micromotors. The results indicate that aerosols tend to scatter upward immediately after generation and then gradually disperse into the surroundings. Most of the particles are less than 5 µm in size (only a few are larger), and all particles are widely distributed over the long term. Our research clearly elucidates that aerosols produced in dental care are distributed over a wide area and remain suspended for a considerable time in dental clinics before settling.

Keywords: COVID-19; aerosol dynamics; aerosol particles; dental care; micro engine; super clean laboratory.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Particle Size
  • SARS-CoV-2*


  • Aerosols