This week’s TIPisode is with Noel Brandon-Kelsch.
Can you use low volume and high volume at the same time? Can you drape your suction on the light handle? Learn these details and more this week with Noel!
Send in your infection control questions! Noel would love to answer them for you.
Medicom sponsors this episode. Head over to their website and learn more about their products to keep you and your patient protected
Noel Brandon-Kelsch is an international speaker, writer, Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice and Director of Cabrillo College Dental Hygiene Program. She is passionate about oral health and has the uncanny ability to motivate and enlighten audiences through her unique humor and cutting edge information. She takes the tough subject matter and presents it in such an exciting way that it becomes thought-provoking even to those not involved in her industry.
Noel is an infection control guru and is going to bring us tips that can make use more informed clinicians!
Check out her webpage noelkelsch.com
For your viewing pleasure this TIPisode has been transcribed:
Michelle Strange: A Tale of Two Hygienists presents this week’s TIPisode: Quick and easy tips to keep you up to date, and presented by the experts in the profession. Now, get ready for your unofficial TIPisode.
Noel Kelsch: Welcome to TIPisode. This is Noel Kelsch, and this episode is about saliva ejectors and backflow. We had a question come from a listener in Milwaukee. This listener is asking if they can use the saliva ejector and the high-volume suction at the same time.
Well, I first want to take you to a couple of places to look at a few things. The first is the “Guidelines for Infection Control in the Dental Health Care Setting in 2003.” There’s some really good information in there about how to use your saliva ejector as well as your high-volume suction. Then, there’s a wonderful article on cross-contamination and the potential of saliva ejectors used in dentistry; that’s in the Journal of Hospital Infection control from 1998. There’s also “Backflow in Low-Volume Suction Lines: the Impact to Pressure Changes” from the Journal of the American Dental Association in 1996. Also, in that same journal in 1993, the “Possibility of Cross-Contamination Between Dental Patients by Means of the Saliva Ejector.”
So what are we looking at here? What do we have to be thinking about? Backflow occurs when previously suctioned fluids present in the suction tubing flow back into the patient’s mouth. Yes, that can happen. So when does backflow occur? What do you have to be thinking about?
Backflow occurs when a saliva ejector is used at the same time as the other evacuation, the high-volume equipment. The other part of this that the CDC brought forward is that the suction tubing attached to the saliva ejector has to be positioned correctly above the patient’s mouth. If you get it above the patient’s mouth, that’s when backflow is going to occur. You always want to have the suction below the patient’s mouth. I’ve seen a couple of times where people have taken the suction and put it over the handle of the light. Not a good plan.
The other area we have to be thinking about is there is pressure in the patient’s mouth. And, when the pressure happens in the patient’s mouth, it’s the result of us telling the patient to close their lips and form a seal around this tip of the saliva ejector. That is less than — the saliva ejector — similar to how when you’ve got a straw and you’re sucking into a cup after the drink through the straw, it’s the same idea where it can come popping out.
We have to be very aware of not doing these three things. So, again, we’re never going to use the high-volume and the low-volume at the same time. The CDC was very specific about that. We’re never going to put the suction tubing above the patient’s head. And then we’re never going to ask the patient to close their mouth around the straw. So, if the patient turns their head to the side and you take the suction, gravity will be your friend, and you’ll be able to suck everything out of the mouth.
Now, currently, there are no adverse health effects associated with the saliva ejector that have been reported yet, but the dental heath care professional should be aware that backflow could occur when they use the saliva ejector and stop advising those patients to close those lips tightly around the saliva ejector. This means we’re going to have to take a minute and we’re going to have to start looking at the directions that we give patients and make sure we’re not telling them to close their lips.
You should contact the manufacturer of your dental unit and review the proper use and maintenance procedures of those lines and include cleaning and disinfection methods. If you have the book of directions called The Instructions for Use, make sure you’re reading those and that you’re properly treating your saliva ejector.
Thank you for being here. Thank you for making a difference in so many patients’ lives.
At this time, I’d like to thank Medicom for, once more, sponsoring these TIPisodes. Please keep sending those questions to me at n.kelsch — K-E-L-S-C-H — @sbcglobal.net. Thank you.
Michelle Strange: We hope you enjoyed this week’s TIPisode. Be sure to reach out to our guest experts and let them know how helpful their tips were. Follow A Tale of Two Hygienists on Facebook, Instagram, and head over to ataleoftwohygienists.com and subscribe to our newsletter. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and keep listening for more awesome content from your unofficial dental hygiene podcast.