Why Do Dentists Wear Face Shields?

Dentists have to wear a lot of personal protective equipment (PPE), including face shields. Some people might think that this is overkill, but the truth is that dental procedures involve a lot of potential biohazards.

The Importance of Face Shields in Dentistry

There are a number of reasons why dentists wear face shields in their work. One of the most important is to protect themselves from exposure to hazardous materials.

Blood and saliva can contain infectious diseases, and coming into contact with them can put dentists at risk of exposure. By wearing a face shield, dentists can create a barrier between themselves and these materials, reducing the chance of exposure.

Another reason for wearing face shields is to protect patients from exposure to dental instruments. Some patients may be concerned about coming into contact with these instruments, and by wearing a face shield, dentists can help to put them at ease.

Face shields also help to protect patients from exposure to dental materials such as toothpaste and mouthwash. These products can contain chemicals that may be harmful if they come into contact with the eyes or skin. Wearing a face shield can help to prevent this from happening.

The Different Types of Face Shields Used in Dentistry

There are different types of face shields used in dentistry, each with its own specific purpose. The most common type of face shield is the surgical mask, which is worn by dental professionals during surgery to protect their face and mouth from bacteria and other contaminants.

Another type of face shield is the dental dam, which is used to isolate a tooth or group of teeth during dental procedures. Dental dams are made of latex or silicone and are placed over the tooth or teeth being worked on.

The third type of face shield is protective eyewear, which is worn by dental professionals to protect their eyes from debris and other contaminants. Protective eyewear can be either full-face or half-face and is typically made of clear plastic or polycarbonate.

When to Wear a Face Shield in Dentistry

There are many reasons why dentists may wear face shields in addition to masks. Face shields provide an extra layer of protection against the spread of infection and are particularly effective in preventing the transmission of aerosolable droplets (such as saliva) during procedures.

Dentists are required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to wear both a face mask and a face shield when treating patients. In some cases, face shields may be worn in lieu of masks, although the CDC still recommends wearing a mask in addition to a face shield when possible.

How to Properly Clean and Disinfect Dental Face Shields

Face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use. The CDC recommends cleaning face shields with soap and water or a disinfectant solution. A list of EPA-registered disinfectants for Covid, and other diseases can be found on their website.

To clean your face shield, remove it from your head and place it upside down on a clean surface. Spray the front and back of the face shield with soapy water or a disinfectant solution. Use a clean cloth or sponge to wipe the surface of the face shield, being sure to cover all areas. Rinse the face shield with clean water and dry with a clean towel or air dryer.

It is important to note that cleaning and disinfecting are two different processes. Cleaning removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects while disinfecting kills germs that remain on surfaces or objects.

How Face Shields Can Help Prevent the Spread of Disease

Face shields are an important piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) that can help prevent the spread of disease. Dentists are at high risk for exposure to blood and other bodily fluids, which can contain infectious diseases. Face shields provide a barrier between the dentist’s face and these fluids.

There are many types of face shields available on the market, but not all of them are effective at preventing the spread of disease. The most effective face shields are made of materials that resist penetration by fluids and bacteria, such as polycarbonate or clear plastic. Face shields that wrap around the sides of the head and fasten in the back are also more effective than those that just cover the front of the face.

Dentists should wear face shields when performing any procedure that could result in exposure to blood or other bodily fluids. In addition, dentists should make sure that their face shields fit properly and do not have any gaps or openings that could allow fluids to reach their mouths or noses.

The Advantages of Wearing a Face Shield in Dentistry

There are a number of reasons why dentists wear face shields in their work. First and foremost, face shields provide a barrier between the dentist and the patient, which helps to protect both parties from the spread of infection. In addition, face shields protect the dentist’s eyes, mouth, and nose from potential splash-back of bodily fluids or other materials during dental procedures.

The Disadvantages of Wearing a Face Shield in Dentistry

While there are some definite advantages to wearing a face shield while performing dental procedures, there are also several disadvantages that should be considered before making the decision to use one. One of the biggest disadvantages is the fact that they can fog up easily, which can restrict your vision and make it difficult to see what you are doing. In addition, they can be quite hot and uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time.

Face Shields Protect Both Dentists and Patients

Face shields are beneficial for both dentists and patients. These shield their face, nose, mouth and eyes from exposure to blood and other bodily fluids that might contain bacteria or viruses. Face shields also prevent droplets from the dentist’s mouth from reaching the patient’s mucous membranes.

In Closing

By wearing a face shield, dentists can protect themselves and their patients from being exposed to blood, saliva, and other bodily fluids. Not to mention, face shields also protect against flying debris and splatters. So next time you see your dentist wearing a face shield, know that they’re just trying to keep everyone safe!

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Nick Klamecki, Author
About Nick Klamecki, Author

Nick Klamecki is a certified Fire and Workplace Safety expert with 15 years experience in product research and testing. He has a degree from U.C. Davis, is an active outdoorsman and spent years ensuring the safety of special needs children. Nick researches and tests workplace, industrial and safety products and provides advice on their safe use. Learn more about Nick here or connect with him on LinkedIn | Medium