Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has always been a significant part of dentistry, protecting oral care providers from the aerosol droplets created by dental procedures.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shed new light on the importance of personal protective equipment for dental hygienists and other support staff.
The CDC has determined that face masks alone are no longer sufficient protection for dental professionals. Specifically, masks fail to shield the eyes from “respiratory secretions” that could occur while you’re providing care to patients.
Enter the face shield.
Alongside the CDC, both the Canadian and American Dental Associations support the use of face shields to provide more robust protection for dental professionals to combine with their personal masks.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of face shields for dental professionals and how to choose the right one for you.
The Science-Backed Benefits of Wearing a Face Shield
Recently, studies on the efficacy of face shields in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses were done by researchers from the Iowa City VA Healthcare System and the University of Iowa.
The results showed a 96% reduction to immediate viral exposure when a simulated healthcare worker wore a face shield within 18 inches of a cough. In fact, there was still an 80% protective effect after a half hour. And face shields blocked nearly 70% of small particle aerosols.
Later, the study was repeated. On this occasion, the 6-feet social distancing guideline was adhered to.
The face shields prevented 92% of inhaled virus particles, which almost mirrored distancing on its own. These results reinforce how physical distancing is integral to stopping the spread of viral respiratory infections.
When it comes to containing a sneeze or cough (aka source control), there aren’t yet any studies on the impact of face shields when worn by asymptomatic or symptomatic infected persons.
Still, with 68% to 96% efficacy ranges of a face shield, adding source control would likely improve efficacy. Expect further studies on this matter soon.
Why Face Shields Work So Well for Dentists
Research demonstrates that face shields play a pivotal role in the overall strategy in stopping community spread, and they add substantial protection in high-risk areas. So, how and why do face shields work so well?
The reasons behind these can be summed up as follows: durability, comfort, and communication.
1. Face Shields Have Heightened Durability and Endless Reusability
Face shields have tremendous lasting power, unlike standard medical masks.
All you need is soap, water, and everyday household disinfectants to clean face shields, which can also be reused indefinitely.
The best face shields for dentists, like the Canadian Shield Face Shield, have an all-plastic design that makes it simple to sanitize and reuse.
2. High-Level Comfort Combined with Optimal Protection
Face shields offer comfort, and they prevent viral entry at every portal.
Since they stop you from touching your face, face shields also decrease the chances of spreading dangerous germs to yourself.
3. Face Shields Don’t Disrupt Communication
Medical masks often muffle up a wearer’s words while talking, leading to removing the PPE. Whereas face shields don’t have this problem, leading to seamless verbal communication while keeping on the protective equipment.
Furthermore, face shields provide a cue to remain distanced for you, your staff, and your patients while maintaining visibility of lip movements for speech perception and facial expressions.
Choosing the Best Face Shield for Dentists & Dental Hygienists
Reusable plastic face shields for dentists come in a range of unique shapes, sizes, and overall levels of quality.
With that said, if you want a good, reliable face shield, here’s what to look for:
- Shields should anteriorly extend below the chin and laterally to the ears.
- No exposed gaps should exist between the shield’s headpiece and your forehead. This design helps stop you from touching your face.
- Since face shields must be worn for extended periods, you need to prioritize comfort. The most cutting-edge products on the market are made using medical-grade PETG. This material brings with it high-end durability and lightweight convenience, making it ideal for all-day wear.
Sable Industries is proud to provide the Canadian Shield Face Shield, designed to be both comfortable and compatible with other PPE including N95’s and safety goggles. The Canadian Shield is manufactured in Ontario, Canada and made with materials sourced from Canadian and US suppliers.
To learn more about face shields for dentists, or to inquire about bulk ordering for your practice, contact us today and we will be happy to assist you!