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    The Importance Of A Face
             Mask
    Riverside Community College Dental Hygiene
                   Program
                      Shari Stuart
                        DEH-13
                                                                Stuart 2




           The Importance of a Face Mask


      In the profession of Dental Hygienist, the face mask is a
crucial tool. In conjunction with eye protection, the face mask is
the safest way to detour infectious disease while working in close
contact with a patient. The purpose of a wearing this device is to
protect the mucous membranes in the oral and nasal cavity.
Because the dental hygienist works in the patient’s intimate
space, within 18 inches, a face mask reduces the risk of
contamination by the patient. Along with microorganisms spread
by coughing or sneezing, debris caused by dental procedures
come in contact with the hygienist. Since microorganisms can stay
in the air for long periods of time, it is important to take necessary
precautions to protect against airborne diseases as well. Some
examples of the airborne diseases are measles, mumps, whooping
cough, influenza, and tuberculosis. When worn correctly, a face
mask can help prevent these microorganisms from entering the
respiratory tract.

      There are many different types of face masks available on
the market. They range from high, moderate, and low levels of
protection. The high performance surgical mask is used for
procedures that produce a high amount of spray, splash, and
splatter. When using an ultrasonic scalar, for example, there is a
higher degree of moisture and debris involved. In this instance, a
high quality face mask should be used. The NIOSH approved N95
                                                             Stuart 3


respirator mask is one of the high level masks used for protection
against airborne disease such as tuberculosis. This type of mask
should be changed every hour or if it becomes moist or wet.

The second level of face masks is the moderate performance
classification. These types of masks are preferred when using
                                                                  Stuart 4


                              References

Infection Control. (2007). American Dental Hygiene Association.

       Retrieved November 23,2007 from the World Wide Web:
       http://www.adha.org/publications/infection_control.htm

Exposure Control: Before Patient Treatment. Dental Hygiene. Retrieved

     November 22, 2007 from the World Wide Web:
     http://www.uams.edu/chrp/dentalhygiene/exposurecontrol/befo
     re patient Treatment.asp
Stuart 5

				
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