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Disposable Saliva Ejectors: Why It’s Dangerous to Overlook Design and Function

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Disposable saliva ejectors—they seem simple enough, especially in comparison to all of the other products in your operatory. But when it comes to infection control and prevention, it’s always the finer details that matter a great deal. 

“Keeping patients out of harm’s way means that sometimes we need to change the simple things we ask patients to do, and the simple tasks we perform,” writes Noel Kelsch, RDHP, for RDH Magazine. “These changes can help eliminate the possible risk of cross-contamination.” 

While no adverse health effects associated with saliva ejectors have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), studies have shown there is risk involved. According to the CDC, backflow occurs when previously suctioned fluids present in the suction tubing flow back into the patient’s mouth. Backflow can include previous patients’ waste material, colorized biofilm from the tubing, and chemicals from the flushing line. 

That’s why clinicians should not advise patients to close their lips tightly around the tip of a saliva ejector to evacuate oral fluids. Doing so forms a seal, or partial vacuum, creating more pressure in the patient’s mouth that is less than in the saliva ejector. The resulting backflow effect is similar to how liquid flows back into a cup after drinking through a straw. 

The other risks associated with saliva ejectors include gravity pulling fluid back toward the patient’s mouth when a length of the suction tubing holding the tip is positioned above the mouth or when a saliva ejector is used at the same time as the other evacuation high-volume equipment.

You can see why it’s so important to have a reliable, flexible saliva ejector that can adapt to any oral condition, maintain its shape, and not collapse when bent. One such product is Flexo Saliva Ejectors from Keystone Industries. They're made not to collapse when bent, returning to a consistent shape to ensure a free-flowing fit. 

Designed to provide optimal suction without aspirating tissue and to ensure non-clogging operation, Flexo Saliva Ejectors are specially made with soft, non-removable tips to provide patients comfort. They’re available in 4 bright translucent colors, perhaps making them kid-friendly despite the suctioning sound. There’s also a clear Flexo available with either fixed or removable tips.

Importantly, Flexo Saliva Ejectors fit all standard vacuum lines. They’re non-vented, latex-free to protect patients and staff with allergies, and made in the U.S. Each case contains 10 bags.

So during your next hygiene recall or patient procedure, remember the CDC guidelines and to be flexible—within reason! Learn more about Flexo Saliva Ejectors and other Keystone Industries products at dental.keystoneindustries.com.

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