Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine the noise levels made by different clinical hand-pieces, laboratory engines, and other significant equipment such as ultrasonic scalers, amalgamators, high-speed evacuation, and other items.
Materials and methods: Sound levels were measured at four dental practices and three dental laboratories selected as representative of a variety of workplaces to reveal a range of noise. The noise levels were determined using a precision sound level meter, which was positioned at ear level and also at 2 meters distance from the operator.
Results: Virtually all noise levels at the dental clinics were below 85 dB(A). The noise levels in the dental laboratories had much higher maxima, with some cutting activities, steam cleaning, and sandblasting up to 90 dB(A), and compressed air blasts with a maximum of 96 dB(A).
Conclusions: The noise levels in the dental clinics are considered to be below the limit of risk of hearing loss. However, technicians and other personnel who spend many hours in noisy dental laboratories may be at risk if they choose not to wear ear protection.