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Practical How To

Practical How To: MEDICOM SafeMask – Procedure Earloop Face Masks


This post was developed in collaboration with Medicom

On an experimental basis, we have asked a number of companies to provide us with practical “How To” answers to clinical questions. We were prompted to conduct this experiment when dental team members told us that they visit company websites and consult company representatives for practical clinical information. These posts do not constitute the CDA’s endorsement or marketing of any product showcased in these posts. The information is presented exclusively for educational purposes.

Webinar Session: Personal Protective Equipment: Minimizing Risk


There are several routes of cross-contamination and infection in healthcare settings.

  • Direct contact with body fluids
  • Indirect contact with sharps, instruments and other contaminated treatment items
  • Exposure to airborne infectious particles

There is an extensive history of diseases transmitted by airborne bacteria and viruses. Masks are an important and effective barrier in protecting HCPs and patients from the potential of acquiring these infections.

The generation of airborne material occurs during the majority of dental procedures. Spatter, containing large particulate matter and aerosols with visible fluid, is often clearly seen during procedures. Droplets from spatter are propelled from intraoral operative sites and remain airborne briefly due to their large size. However, aerosols stay airborne for longer intervals and have the potential to enter unprotected bronchioles and alveoli of the lungs. airborne bacterial or viral infections.

Proper Use of Masks

  1. Mask must cover the nostrils.
  2. Masks should appropriately conform to the shape of the users’ face. Gaps along the side of the mask should be eliminated to prevent entry of airborne microbes.
  3. Wet masks should be changed every 20 minutes during procedures that generate heavy levels of spatter and aerosols, and after 60 minutes in non-aerosol environments.

SafeMask Best Practices (8.40″)

Features of Medicom SafeMask

Non-woven spunbond outer layer material   Maximum protection against fluids penetration that will not lint, tear or shred
Highest quality filter media

Optimal filtration & breathability

ASTM Level 1-3 performance requirements

Inner Layer Will not lint, tear or shred
Non-woven spunbond inner layer made of white dye-free fluid-resistant material

Soft, strong, sonically-sealed ample-length – eliminates pulling

Attached to outside of mask- eliminates irritation

Nose piece

Adjustable, extra-long, enclosed aluminum

Forms strong seal for maximum protection and comfort

Shingle pleat design Fluid pooling & cross-contamination is prevented
Soft bond ultrasonics Ensures strongest construction

What’s the difference between the different levels of masks?

The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) establishes the criteria and testing methods to identify performance specifications for face masks in healthcare. Masks are generally classified into 3 types as shown in the table below. Approved test information is described as bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) and particle filtration efficiency (PFE). BFE is measured using viable particles (e.g. bacteria) ranging in size from 1-5 μ and PFE is determined using fixed-size, non-viable particles measuring 0.1-1.0

ASTM Level 1
  • Oral exams for low-risk patients
  • Procedures with low levels of spray & splatter
  • Orthodontic treatment with little/no spray
  • Hand instrumentation with little moisture or spray
  • Fluoride treatments
  • Basic lab work
ASTM Level 2
  • Oral exams for known higher risk patients
  • Procedures with moderate levels of spray, splatter & airborne particles
  • High/low-speed handpieces
  • Dry, low-aerosol procedures
  • Bleaching, ortho, endo and perio procedures
  • Lab work with exposure to blood or contaminated materials
ASTM Level 3
  • Oral exams for high-risk patients (AIDS, Hep B, TB)
  • Procedures involving high levels of spray, splatter & airborne particles
  • Ultrasonic scalers & high-speed aerosols
  • Air polishers & air-water syringes
  • Oral surgery

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