Within the dental industry, safety and assurance of staff and patients has been top of the agenda since orthodontists and dentists reopened through the coronavirus pandemic. Many practices have been searching for extra infection control techniques to reduce the transmission of Covid-19, as well as seasonal colds, flu and other illnesses.
One such orthodontal practice was Lakeside Orthodontics, a mixed NHS and Private surgery on The Wirral that was established in 2005. In total there are four clinicians, five nurses and two admin staff on site. The practice has three treatment rooms and can see up to sixty patients in a day.
Jonty Meisner, the owner of the practice explains more about what they were looking for to increase safety:
“We know that for our patients, getting their treatment is very, very, safe, but anything we could do to give them, and our staff, more confidence was always going to be a huge bonus. As a practice, we of course follow all of the additional cleaning and fallow time guidelines set out by the Government. As well as social distancing and wearing the correct PPE, we wanted to do something extra.
“There was a lot in the news at the time about Covid transmission through airborne droplets, we decided to look for something that would focus on air purification and improving air quality. Although we have always ensured the practice is as clean as it can be, we had never done anything to try to clean the air. The recent pandemic has given us a chance to carefully consider the risk of airborne transmission of infection and to find ways of reducing it.”
“We began to look into air sanitisers for dentists and medical practices. Initially we looked at HEPA filters and air purifiers for clinical settings. Then we came across Airdri’s range of air sanitisers we knew that this would provide the extra safety measures we were looking for in terms of ridding the air of bacteria and harmful pathogens.”
Testing the Effectiveness of SteraSpace
SteraSpace units were installed in the open surgery and waiting room, with plans to roll out to more areas following the initial efficacy results. Independent testing was carried out by ALS Laboratories, a respected analytical testing laboratory based in Rotherham, UK.
Air plate samples were taken as a baseline before the unit was installed and then subsequent test samples were taken from the same positions 14 days later, after the SteraSpace had been installed.
The sanitiser unit was running continuously throughout this time to assess potential impact this may have on the microbial content of the air. This assessment is based on the reduction in colony forming units settle plates, which were set out for 120 minutes at key testing points.
The SteraSpace Washroom+ (PCA40X) unit was recorded to have reduced the initial level of bacteria by 62.5% after 14 days of continuous usage within the Reception area.
A 61% reduction was seen on the Reception Desk and 83% at the entrance to the washroom.
Within the treatment rooms, the SteraSpace 20 (PSA20) unit was recorded to have reduced the initial level by 35% after 14 days of continuous usage.
There was a 54% reduction in the entrance area to the treatment area and a 45% reduction in the centre island between the two treatment chairs.
While there was still an impressive reduction in levels of bacteria in the surgery, it is important to note that on the afternoon of the first test the surgery had minimal appointments. While on the morning of the second test the surgery had a far greater number of appointments including the removal of braces, which generates high levels of bacteria.
It’s likely the results would have shown an even higher reduction had the appointment levels on the day been similar. Lakeside owner Jonty Meisner continued:
“We are extremely impressed with the results of the tests and will definitely be rolling the units out to more areas.
“SteraSpace not only helps to clean the air to reduce potentially infective or allergenic particles but also helps us meet the UK guidelines for reducing fallow time after any aerosol generating procedures (AGP). It’s a win, win for us really.
“The units are stylish, modern and discrete compared with other brands. Unlike some other brands they come with some very impressive scientific results about their efficacy.
“Our Airdri units provide a very stylish and effective way to keep the practice air clean and provide our patients with confidence in us and our cross-infection control measures.
“Apart from cleaner air, and reduced Fallow time, these wall mounted units are a blessing as the previous floor mounted and counter mounted units just cluttered the place up. “It was very comforting to staff too. The nature of our work means of course that we are more at risk of contracting Covid-19 than say those working in an office, which is why healthcare workers have been prioritised for vaccinations. So, SteraSpace was a way of giving staff that extra guarantee that we are doing absolutely everything we can to reduce the risk, not just from coronavirus but from other types of infection too.
“What’s more, the initial cost of installing the units was actually much less than we had envisaged and once installed they’re extremely cost effective to run, much more affordable and less intrusive than fogging and other types of infection control.
“My staff definitely understand its importance and have more confidence in the air quality.
“If Covid-19 has taught me anything, it is that clean air is one of the simplest ways of defeating respiratory illness. With weather that often does not allow us to open windows, then I rely on the latest technology to make my indoor working spaces safer from infection for my patients and staff by using air sanitisation to emulate the outdoors.”
The range of Airdri SteraSpace Air & Surface Sanitisers provide 24/7 infection and odour control by sanitising surrounding air and exposed surfaces.
The units combine Photo Catalytic Disinfection (PCD), Germicidal Irradiation and Dual Waveband UV technology to create the most advanced virus and bacteria control technology of its kind. This offers a unique and highly effective way to eliminate bacteria, mould, fungi, viruses, dust mites, allergens, and harmful VOCs to result in clean, healthy air and surfaces in the workplace.
By combining these three advanced technologies a continuous flow of disinfecting plasma is released into the air which eliminates 98.11% of airborne and 99.6% of surface micro-organisms and it works in under 60 minutes.
Not only this but after the initial installation cost, the units cost in the region of just £2 per month to run, with an annual outlay of around £50 for a new bulb.