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New shield that is eco-friendly could offer greater protection during dental surgery
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New shield that is eco-friendly could offer greater protection during dental surgery

New environment-friendly shield could offer better protection during dental surgery
New environment-friendly shield could offer better protection during dental surgery
A patient undergoing a dental procedure using NoPaS. Credit: University of Bristol Dental School

A multidisciplinary team from University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) has developed a shield that is more friendly to dental patients and practitioners. This shield protects them from COVID-19, other airborne viruses and bacteria. The shield could increase the number and length of procedures performed by dentists.

NoPaS (Novel patient shield) is a device that protects patients and dentists from COVID-19, which can spread via aerosols during dental procedures. The device could also reduce clinical waste, including the need for disposable personal protective equipment (PPE)

COVID-19 significantly reduced access for dental care. Routine dental treatment such as root canal treatment and fillings were stopped in the first lockdown. It has not yet recovered its pre-pandemic potential. Many procedures in dentistry are “aerosol generating procedures” (AGPs). These aerosols may contain bacteria and virus particles that could spread COVID-19 or other diseases.

Dr. Mojtaba Dorri, Consultant in Restorative Dentistry in the Bristol Dental School and University Hospitals Bristol & Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW), who led the development of NoPaS, said: “During the COVID-19 pandemic the development of innovative environmentally-friendly solutions have been much needed to allow routine dental care to be delivered in a safe environment without risking virus transmission. It is crucial that routine dental care continue to be provided for public health because of the risk of future pandemics and the virus still being circulating.

“With minor modifications, NoPaS may be used to perform medical procedures on the head, neck, and ears, including endoscopy, nose, throat, and ear canals.

“Our NoPaS prototype was fully tested thanks to the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute and MRC Confidence In Concept grants. We are actively looking for partnerships to bring NoPaS into mass-production.

Between March 2020 and April 2021, England saw 19 million NHS dental appointments. Eight million courses of treatment were missed in England. Suspension of routine dental care led to an increase in antibiotic use by 25% in England, and dental extraction for other treatable diseases.

Most UK dental practices are operating below half of their pre-pandemic capacity, and nearly half of them are unable to sustain their financial sustainability for the next one year. This is due to the recommended fallow period of 15 to 60 minutes after any AGP. Some patients in England are currently on a three year waiting list. AGPs are required to wear additional PPE, which increases the amount of clinical waste and poses a threat to the environment. Experts believe that COVID-19 and other infections can be transmitted to the airways in the future.

New biosafety-air curtain device allows for safer dental procedures

Provided by
University of Bristol

A new shield that is more friendly to the environment could provide better protection during dental surgery (2022 and January 17).
Retrieved 17 January 2022

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