How to Minimize Airborne Pathogens with your Mechanical Room

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Dental air compressors and vacuums are often referred to as the heart and lungs of the practice. Practices typically use either a liquid-ring system or a dry system for aerosol mitigation.  In the age of COVID-19, dental technology is following a revolutionary path and vacuum systems must meet new requirements.

In today’s stringent infection control environment, with aerosol management being the focus, there is more demand on a dental practices’ vacuum system than ever before. For example, hygienists are beginning to replace the saliva ejector with an HVE or they are choosing to use an extra-oral device to capture spray mist in the air. The concern is that some vacuum systems, which were installed well before the COVID-19 pandemic, may not be able to support the increased flow requirements doctors are now asking for.

DSOs also need to evaluate their practices’ suction systems. One way to do that is to consult with your distribution partnerThey should be able to provide you with a comprehensive evaluation of your evacuation lines and vacuum system. After the inspection, you may have two choices:

  1. expand the current capabilities by adding additional motors to the system, or
  2. explore options to upgrade the utility room to meet new demands.

The number one element which needs addressing is the amount of flow required to effectively remove aerosols. During many dental procedures, a spray mist cloud of aerosols can spread up to 2M/6.6’ away from the patients’ oral cavity. Containing and safely evacuating these aerosols before they leave the mouth is the key to a safe working environment.

There are two important characteristics to a robust dental evacuation suction system.

  1. The ability to produce high levels of negative pressure. Negative pressure allows the practitioner to remove fluids and debris from inside the oral cavity.
  2. The vacuum’s ability to provide airflow, measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). Maximizing the flow created by the vacuum unit allows the system to move more air through the suction line and capture more of those airborne pathogens, which is a top concern.

The primary focus of the practice should be containing aerosols where they begin, in the oral cavity, which Air Techniques has identified as Zone 1 (see video below.) The COVID-19 crisis has clinicians concerned with not only with fluid and debris removal, but also capturing aerosols. Liquid-ring systems are less efficient at doing this because this technology is designed primarily to produce high negative pressure. There is however a dry vacuum option that provides the best of both worlds –fluid and debris removal, as well as aerosol removal: The Mojave dry vacuum system.

The Mojave dry vacuum system uses a regenerative side channel blower technology that offers the best balance between both vacuum and flow rate that is critical to a safe dental visit for clinician and patient.

Proven in laboratory tests, the Mojave system can remove aerosols from Zone 1 – where they start – at a greater rate than any other wet or dry dental vacuum system currently available. Additionally, the negative pressure stays consistent across the widest range of vacuum demands, sustaining high levels of flow for multiple users without compromise.

Not only does Mojave give the best combination of negative pressure and flow, Mojave is able to grow and expand as the demands of the practice grow and expand, to keep up with adding more operatories or more HVEs to control aerosols.

Because the Mojave system is modular, facilities can just add additional motors (four total) to increase vacuum performance so you don’t have to remove the entire system as with some other products.

Another major advantage to using the Mojave system is the cost savings:

  • Liquid-ring pumps can use 1-2 gallons of water per minute, at a cost of several hundreds of dollars per year.  The Mojave is a “dry” vacuum and the only water that is used is a minor amount to automatically rinse the tank at the end of the day.
  • Many vacuum systems run full speed continuously throughout the day, but the Mojave has two unique features to help save energy –the Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) and Mojave Master Control (MMC).
    • The VFD speeds up and slows down the motor, ramping up RPMs and suction power only when higher vacuum demand is “requested.”  Think of it as a car idling at a stop sign, then the VFD is the gas pedal that speeds the motor up when it’s time to go!
    • The MMC is the “brains” of the entire operation.  It’s an onboard computer that controls turning on additional motors when needed, and balances multi-motor usage to extend system life.  It’s a best practice for DSOs to have redundancy in their equipment. Having a back-up is like a built-in insurance policy that guarantees your practice is always able to see patients. The MMC also runs self-diagnostic cycles every four hours, even at night, and also provides critical diagnostic information. 

Supporting many national, regional, and local DSOs, Air Techniques has been a trusted advisor, providing reliable, cost-effective and high-performing utility solutions to the dental industry for over 57 years, ensuring today’s dental professionals are “Equipped for Life®”.  Air Techniques continues to represent superior quality and is a trusted brand to dealers and dental professionals worldwide.

Click here for Air Techniques COVID-19 information

To learn how your DSO can safely evacuate
aerosols before they leave the mouth, contact:

Deb Bridges, Institution Liaison North America
Tel. 484.225.1467,

Shaun Taylor, Associate Director, Special Markets

Steve Aaron, Special Markets Account Manager
Tel. 510.754.9771,


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