Face Masks are an important part of every dental procedure—from caring for the patient to disinfecting the operatory—but with numerous mask options within the dental sell are often difficult to settle on which of them are best for you and your practice.
When it involves selecting face masks you'll choose between a good range of designs, fits, colors, patterns, etc. However, the foremost important factor to think about is that the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) Level rating of the mask. This rating indicates the extent of protection provided by the mask, and every one mask is a level 1, 2, or 3.
We put together an easy breakdown of what each ASTM level of face mask means and once you should—or shouldn’t—wear a particular level mask. In this manner you'll ensure you’re protected regardless of what sort of procedure you’re performing.
Level 1 Masks
Level 1 is taken into account “low barrier” and will only be worn during simple procedures, like exams (not including prophylaxis), taking impressions and x-rays, lab work and orthodontics.
Level 1 face masks also are great for wearing during disinfecting exam rooms after finishing with a patient. Essentially, level 1 masks are ideal for love or money which will have minimal amounts of fluid, aerosols and splatter.
Level 2 Masks
Level 2 is taken into account “moderate barrier” and is usually a secure choice for mid-level procedures like prophylaxis, non-surgical periodontal therapy, sealants, restorations, most endodontic work and straightforward oral surgery. In the appropriate level of evaluation process, the correct use method should be followed to evaluate the level of the mask to protect against splashing liquids and aerosols. It’s always best to err on the side of caution to make sure you’re protected.
Level 3 Masks
Level 3 is taken into account “high barrier” and provides the simplest protection of all ASTM level regulated face masks and is important during situations where there'll be high levels of fluid, aerosol and splatter produced. The tasks that require level 3 masks include ultrasonic cleaning, air polishing, crown preparation, implant placement, and various other complex oral surgery operations.
Understanding when to wear which level of mask is crucial to making sure proper protection while treating a patient. And if you’re ever unsure a simple rule of thumb is often to stay with level 3 masks only, ensuring there’s no guess work when it involves mask selection.
However, level 3 face masks will generally cost slightly quite their lower level counter parts. to stay mask costs down it might be smart to possess a couple of boxes of level one masks available for disinfecting and level 2 masks available for those procedures you’re confident don’t require “high barrier” protection.