Dental practices are bustling environments, with lots of people coming and going. Not only do patients bring in germs, but frequent aerosol-generating procedures (AGP’s) can also spread bacteria and viruses. Lack of ventilation can mean that these germs linger in the air, which increases the likelihood of infection. Plus, a musty, poorly ventilated space can negatively impact staff and patients’ well-being.
For these reasons, ventilation in a dental surgery is absolutely key to maintaining a hygienic, safe and motivational working practice. This article explores in detail some of the key reasons why ventilation is important in dental practices. We will also explain how facilities management companies like MSL can help you maintain your ventilation system.
What are the Benefits of Good Ventilation in a Dental Surgery?
1. Reduces germ transmission
Hygiene without a doubt is the most important reason for ventilating dentistry practices. Research has shown that well-ventilated spaces have lower rates of transmission of infections, which is ideal for a business that’s medical-based. The more frequently air is circulated throughout a clinic, the less likely patients and staff are at risk of infection. This applies not just to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to yearly flu and colds which can cause staff absences in dental practices. In winter especially, ventilation is key to avoiding the spread of seasonal illnesses.
2. Improves patient satisfaction
As well as reducing infection, dental practice air purification can also improve the experience of patients visiting your clinic. Not only can fresh air make the practice more welcoming to patients; research has shown that in some instances good ventilation can also ease stress and anxiety. This is ideal in a dentistry environment, as it’s estimated that 36% of the population suffer from feelings of stress and anxiety when going to the dentist.
3. Provides better working conditions for dental staff
Fresh air is not just important for patients, it’s crucial to maintain the well-being of dentistry staff too. They too can benefit from reduced stress and anxiety, and a more comfortable working environment. Ventilation can also help to control humidity in the clinic, reducing the likelihood of dampness and mould developing, which could negatively impact staff’s mental and physical health.
4. Ensures compliance with dental surgery ventilation requirements
The Workplace (Health, Safety, and Welfare) Regulations state that all indoor workplaces must be well ventilated. Furthermore, dental clinics have a duty of care toward patients, according to the 2009 Health Act. The NHS’s Health Technical Memorandum on specialised ventilation for healthcare buildings stipulates that this duty of care must include well-maintained ventilation. MSL’s compliance maintenance services can support you with this, to make sure that your ventilation systems are up to healthcare industry standards.
How Can I Ensure That My Dental Practice is Well Ventilated?
Keep your HVAC system well maintained
Regular maintenance is the best way to keep a ventilation system in good condition. At MSL, we offer a planned maintenance programme where our skilled technicians regularly service your ventilation unit. This ensures that any potential risks are dealt with as soon as they arise, so that your dental staff and patients are breathing in clean air all the time.
Make sure that enough ‘fallow time’ is left between appointments
‘Fallow Time’ is the time where a clinic is left empty after an aerosol-generating procedure (AGP). Made necessary in 2020 due to the pandemic, dentists still use fallow time to make sure that the operatory is safe for every new patient that comes in. With MSL’s planned maintenance programme, you can rest assured that you consistently have a good ventilation system, and therefore reduce the amount of fallow time needed maximising the number of patients seen.
Limit the number of pollutants in the air
By strategically performing aerosol generating procedures (AGP’s), dentists can limit the amount of pollutants that are in the air when new patients come in for an appointment. Even if it isn’t possible to reduce the amount of AGPs performed, spacing them out at the start and end of respective appointments means that time is left for the ventilation system to replenish the fresh air in the room, making transmission of illness less likely.
Purify the air in your practice
Dental practice air purification ensures that the air in your surgery is not full of pollutants or contaminants. It was a method approved by the British Dental Association during the pandemic to reduce infection and help dentists continue working. Adding a HEPA filtration system to your ventilation system means the air is cleaned when it is recycled through the room, increasing the benefits of ventilation.
Open windows to increase manual ventilation
Opening windows can assist a ventilation system to let more fresh air into the clinic.UK Government Ventilation in the Workplace guidance also recommends opening doors and using other openings such as trickle vents, air bricks and grilles to help naturally ventilate a building.
Ventilation is an indispensable part of the hygiene requirements in any dentist’s surgery, and it needs to be properly maintained. MSL’s services can help you with all your ventilation maintenance needs. With our compliance, planned, and reactive maintenance services, if you ever experience an issue with your ventilation system, we’re on hand to support you.
If you are interested in discovering how MSL’s ventilation maintenance services for dental practices can help your facility, don’t hesitate to contact us on 0333 1234450.