Authors: Singh TS, Mabe OD

Source: South African Dental Journal 2009; 64 (1): 8-14


Fine aerosolised droplets and splatter generated during dental procedures influences the composition of the indoor air quality of dental care facilities and poses a potential threat to the workers’ health. Therefore there is a need to assess the risks from exposure to bioaerosols and splatter and identify measures of reducing possible hazards.

A review of the literature related to occupational exposure and health hazards in dentistry was conducted. The search primarily focused on endotoxin exposure from contaminated dental unit waterlines.

This review highlights the various occupational hazards experienced by dental personnel. However, focus is directed on exposure to biological agents as a result of fine aerosol and splatter generated from dental procedures. More emphasis is on endotoxin exposure from contaminated dental unit waterlines and the negative impact it may have on dental workers. The review also aims to inform the reader of proposed endotoxin levels in both air and water and how and by whom it should be measured.

Understanding the main sources of endotoxin in dental practice and its influence on indoor air and potential threat to dental workers is pertinent to infection control strategies.

Abstract on Pubmed