What is a Dental Evacuation System?

This article discusses the purpose of a dental evacuation system, the importance of cleaning and disinfecting the system, and types of dental evacuation system cleaner.

What is a Dental Evacuation System?

An evacuation system uses a suction to remove water, saliva, blood, and debris from a patient’s mouth while they are undergoing dental treatment. Dentists and dental hygienists use the evacuation system to keep mouth dry and clear so they can see the treatment area clearly and work without obtrusion. Removing fluids from the mouth also makes treatment more comfortable and less claustrophobic for the patient.

The system consists of several components:

  • The operating unit, which houses the traps and power supply;
  • The wand-like saliva ejector that sucks up fluids;
  • The evacuation suction line that carries fluid out of the mouth; and
  • The traps or solid collectors that filter out non-fluids.

A properly-functioning evacuation system should efficiently remove saliva and other fluids while posing no risk of ‘backflow’ into the mouth. This requires a precise section level, usually between 11 and 12 bars. Too much suction will cause the ejector to stick to the patient’s mouth or check, impeding treatment; too little suction increases the risk of backflow.

Evacuation System Maintenance

Keeping the system clean and efficient is an essential task in a dental facility. Responsible practices clean and inspect the evacuation system regularly as part of their normal cleaning routines. The process involves:

  • Cleaning the suction lines;
  • Emptying the solids collectors or traps; and
  • Cleaning and disinfecting the suction lines.

Evacuation suction lines must be cleaned and disinfected each day. To maintain a sanitary and efficient system, practitioners must use a proper dental evacuation system cleaner that is compatible with the equipment in question. Not all cleaners are compatible with every brand of evacuation system.

Dental Evacuation System Cleaners

Many cleaners, like BioPure, contain enzymes that eat through bacteria in the tubing instead of flushing them with chemicals. These microbiology-based products are recognized as being safer and better for the environment than chemical products.

In addition to regular cleaning with microbiology-based cleaners, some practitioners employ harsher “shock treatment” products that remove debris left behind in daily cleaning.

Dental practitioners are advised against using cleaners that are chlorine-based, or are oxidizers. Chlorine causes metal components in an evacuation system to corrode, while oxidisers can cause mercury to be released from amalgam particles and contaminate the water.

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