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A Tale of Two Hygienists Podcast

Jun 9, 2021

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Spring Hatfield, RDH, joins Michelle and Andrew on the podcast once again this week. As many of you will remember, Spring is a dental hygienist and co-founder of Masterminds, LLC, who is also a contributing author to RDH Magazine. She has returned today to engage in an examination of the recently published ‘Sources of SARS-CoV-2 and Other Microorganisms in Dental Aerosols’ study with our hosts.


In today’s episode, they review the use of etch in removing stains, Spring’s diplomatic approach in her posts, and, of course, the results, conclusions, and takeaways from the study, along with some questions for its authors. They also explore the importance of testing water lines, the definition of HVE and its usage, some studies regarding mouth rinses, some podcast suggestions, Karen Daw’s guidelines, and the continued use of face shields.






Interview starts: 13:06



  •   Etch use in removing stains
  •   Spring’s perspective on getting tagged in posts and remaining


  •   ‘Sources of SARS-CoV-2 and Other Microorganisms in Dental

Aerosols’ study and a summary of its results

  •   The critical importance of testing water lines
  •   Two current dental lawsuits
  •   The study’s conclusions
  •   HVE definition and use
  •   Questions for the study authors
  •   Studies regarding different mouth rinses
  •   Some podcast suggestions
  •   Michelle’s takeaways from the study
  •   Karen Daw’s guidelines
  •   Face shield usage




“Spring’s out there doing the Lord's work.”


“I make sure that I separate my science from my emotions…it's a learned skill to be able to not let your emotions get involved.”


“We did the right thing by shutting down and waiting for the research and knowing now what we know.”


“I think they are making the assumption, and probably being hopeful, that everybody followed the ethical recommendations from the ABA to shut down. And we are very aware that that was not the case.”


“This is a robust, good sound methods. Whatever goes after those methods, he says, is probably accurate and good evidence.”


“The point that I'm making with that information is how important it is that we're sterilizing our handpieces.”


“What an argument for testing your water lines!”


“It disproved anybody's idea that COVID could be spread through dental aerosols.”


“It's really interesting that we were looking for one beast and found a completely different beast in our dental office, and that is testing and shocking and treating our water lines.”


“I don't think it's something that people do a lot of and I don't think it's talked about nearly as much as it should be.”


“They tested on the operator, the assistant, the patient and the environment…it’s real world stuff.”


“Understanding the sources of microbial bio load in aerosols is the immediate urgency not only for infection control and dental operatories during Covid 19 pandemic, but also to inform best practices in aerosol reduction, mitigation, and abatement in the long term.”


“One surprising finding was the discovery of microorganisms in the implant irrigant, which was sterile saline.”


“In summary, we find sufficient evidence to reject our null hypothesis that saliva is a potential source of disease transmission during AGDPs. Instead, we identify for the first time that the irrigant used in dental equipment is the primary and major source of microorganisms during AGDPs.”


“We also demonstrate that high volume inter-oral evaluators are highly effective in reducing salivary contamination of the surrounding environment. And that preprocedural mouth rinses consistently reduced salivary microbial bio loads.”


“ ‘Within the limitations of the small sample side, we conclude that the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens from aerosolized saliva in dental operatories is moderately low, and that current infection control practices are adequately robust to protect personnel and patients alike.’ And I would just like to throw a caveat, too - that is when you actually do proper standard precautions.”


“We're not going to be a vector for disease in regards to COVID.”


“If we do follow all the aspects of standard precautions, and we reassess our hierarchy of controls, we are great. We are a very safe place to be.”





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Sources of SARS-CoV-2 and Other Microorganisms in Dental Aerosols


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