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Staying Safe with ASTM Level 3 Protection


During a dental procedure, the generation of airborne material comes with the risk of exposure to airborne infectious particles. Some of this material is relatively avoidable—spatter, for example, is visible and only remains airborne short period of time. Aerosols, however, stay airborne for longer and are virtually invisible due to their small particles. Without adequate protection, these substances can easily carry infectious agents into the lungs. Airborne bacteria and viruses can transmit a wide range of diseases, from moderate to severe and even life-threatening.

To protect both health care professionals and their patients, the American Dental Association (ADA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommend that practices implement face masks as part of their infection control protocol. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) reinforces this via the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard which states, “Masks in combination with eye protection devices...shall be worn whenever splashes, spray, spatter, or droplets of blood or other potentially infectious materials may be generated and eye, nose, or mouth contamination can be reasonably anticipated.”

With many mask options available, it can be difficult to select the right one for your needs. A good place to start, however, is with the performance specifications established by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). ASTM classification delineates three levels of mask performance, with ASTM level 1 providing the least protection and level 3 offering the most.

Important factors in determining ASTM level and your personal mask requirements are fluid resistance, bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) and particle filtration efficiency (PFE). ASTM level 3 offers the greatest resistance as measured by each of these metrics. While ASTM levels 1 and 2 are acceptable for use during procedures where low concentrations of spatter, fluid or aerosols are produced, level 3 should be worn whenever moderate to heavy material is generated. ASTM level 3 masks are ideal for high-risk oral exams, air-water syringe usage, oral surgery, laser surgery and any other instance in which a high level of spray, splatter or airborne particles may occur.

SafeMask® Master Series® by Medicom® with Simply Soft Technology™ delivers up to and including ASTM level 3 performance without sacrificing comfort and fit. Featuring a fluid-resistant outer layer and a soft inner layer, SafeMask Master Series not only provides exceptional protection but also feels great. The single-use masks deliver an exceptional balance of filtration and breathability, meaning even a level 3 mask feels as comfortable as a level 1. Each mask is designed with precisely measured ear loops and an adjustable nose piece ensuring that you achieve a perfectly secure fit. SafeMask Master Series is available in a spectrum of fun, vibrant colors.

Learn more about SafeMask Master Series at Medicom’s website. To purchase SafeMask Master Series, please contact your preferred dental dealer.

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