Dear Sir or Madame,
The Academy of Laser Dentistry is the primary organization for dental lasers. Our mission is to provide education of dental practitioners to practice safe and effective use of laser technology that ensures both patients’ and practice’s well-being.
We are communicating with you to provide solutions to aerosol production that can occur in the dental environment.
Current devices utilized in dental operatories can create aerosols, with ultrasonics and high- speed handpieces producing more airborne contamination than other commonly utilized devices. Because of this, CDC guidelines for prevention of transmission of the novel Coronavirus SARS –CoV-2 includes recommendations to decrease high speed handpiece activity with particular attention to limiting the use of ultrasonic devices in the dental hygiene operatory. Public health benefits associated with adjunctive use of the diode laser for bacterial reduction in the sulcular epithelium are well documented with no aerosol production.
Similarly, co-morbidities associated with oral bacteria load become greater risk factors during public health emergencies, including the current pandemic. Consequently, clarity by public health experts about the safety and efficacy of the diode laser in the hygiene operatory may be key to optimizing the public health benefits of good oral health during the present, and possibly future pandemics.
We believe that dental diode lasers can serve as a safe and beneficial adjunct to manual cleaning devices, and we seek this clarification for three reasons:
- To assure patients receiving dental or periodontal cleaning via dental diode lasers – and the hygienists who perform such procedures – that aerosol is not being generated.
- To assure practicing dentists that the use of dental diode lasers for specific procedures and at their intended settings will not, in and of themselves, subject their practices to the various control measures.
To further individual and public health. The accompanying document, Rationale for Consideration of a Diode Laser for Adjunctive Non-Aerosol Management, and references explain how dental diode lasers can eliminate bacteria from the periodontal pocket which, if left alone, can cause diseases and conditions that make patients more vulnerable to COVID-19. The use of manual instruments, the primary alternative to ultrasonic devices, provides no such benefit.
- In October 2020, an article in the Journal of the American Dental Association reported that COVID-19 prevalence among dentists, as of June 2020, during the initial acceleration phase of the pandemic was less than 1%. An estimated 3.1% of U.S. dental hygienist had contracted COVID-19 as of October 2020, according to research from the ADA and American Dental Hygienists’ Association.