dental office air purifier

Which Dental Office Air Purifier Should You Buy?

dental office air purifier

Air quality is a huge issue in a dental office, and to ensure it is kept at its best, you have to make sure you invest in a reliable air cleaning solution. There are so many options out there for dental practice air purifiers and it can be difficult to choose.

Accordingly, time and again dental professionals ask which is the best dental office air purifier? There are several air purifiers available on the market that work well for dental offices. Based on research, first-hand user experiences, and independent comparisons, the following air purifiers were found to be among the most reliable for dental practices,

  1. Surgically Clean Air
  2. Airgle
  3. IQAir
  4. Enviroklenz

That said, knowing which air purifier you should get for your dental is just the start of making sure you maintain good air quality in your practice. In this light, in the rest of this post, I provide further details on ensuring good air quality in your dental practice,

I provide this guidance in addition to a detailed review of each of the four air purifiers, I found to be most suitable for dental offices. Should you manage to get through this entire post, you will be well on your way to confidently choosing the correct air purifier for your dental office.

7 Key Reasons You Should Get A Dental Office Air Purifier

Getting the correct dental office air purifier for your dental practice is a significant investment and accordingly, it's easy to be on the fence about whether you should get one. This is more so true if your practice has been doing just fine without one and it seems unnecessary. 

Given possible doubts you may have, to boost your confidence in your purchase and clear any doubt whether you are making a wise decision buying one, I thought it would be helpful to start by taking you through every key reason why you should get a dental air purifier.

If you are already sold on getting one, the reasoning here will further reinforce your decision. Besides encouraging you to select the best possible air purifier for your practice, I trust the list of reasons I am about to share with you can also help you convince any decision-maker you have to run the idea past before you get one. 

So here are the reasons.

1. Bio-Aerosols

The number one reason why every single dental office should have an air purifier is bioaerosols. Whenever you use your fast or slow handpiece or any similar scaling or drilling instrument in a dental procedure, you produce bioaerosols.

These aerosols are fine droplets containing all sorts of nasty stuff, like blood, saliva, pathogens, and microbes and as you treat your patients, they disperse and linger throughout your office’s air. What’s worse is that the aerosols linger in your air for over six hours and can spread across an entire building.

The aerosols are easily inhaled and in small or large quantities are a potential source of airborne disease infection for anyone in or close proximity to your dental office. So God forbid if one of your patients has influenza like COVID19,  MERS, or SARS through bioaerosols in your office, you can spread such illnesses.

The longer bioaerosols are left to linger in your office, the higher the chances of people including you and your staff inhaling them and potentially getting sick. If you care about yourself and others, this is the last thing you want. 

Accordingly, it should be your mission to keep this stuff out of your office air, and by far the quickest and simplest way to do this is with an air purifier. So reason number one you want an air purifier in your office is to prevent transmission of disease to anyone through bioaerosols produced during your dental procedures.

2. Chemicals

In the same fashion, bioaerosols contaminate your dental office air, some of the work you do in your practice releases all kinds of dangerous toxic chemicals into your air. When it comes to chemicals, your dental lab activities also add to the problem.

Through processes in your lab, vapors and gases, and particulates from hazardous metal alloys such as Vironite, Vitallium, Wisil, and Duralium and Methyl Methacrylate are dispersed into your air. Then you have Mercury vapors from Amalgam fillings and  Glutaraldehyde if you still develop X-Rays. 

Additionally, latex powder from gloves sometimes also gets into your air, and all the disinfectants you use for instruments and cleaning across your practice and to the mix of pollutants causing poor air quality in your office. 

If these are present in high enough quantities in your air, eventually people, especially those who are in your office for a couple of hours and inhale these airborne chemicals long enough, start getting reactions like sinuses, itchy eyes and headaches. 

Fortunately, air purifiers can get rid of all these contaminants. With an air purifier, you can say goodbye to health issues caused by chemicals off-gassing and dispersing across your dental office.

3. Sick Patients

The next reason you should get a dental office air purifier is that sometimes some of the patients visiting your practice or the people they come with might have an infectious disease that can spread through the air.

I can give many examples here, but let me spare you and get straight to the point. Without an air purifier, if a person with an airborne infection sneezes or talks, their infection could linger in your office for some time, increasing the chances of someone else catching it. 

However, if you had a good air purifier located in your waiting area and dental theatre, as air purifiers can clean air in entire rooms in less than 12 minutes, you could greatly reduce the chances of someone with an airborne illness transmitting their disease through the air in your practice. 

4. Dust

Dust on surfaces is generally well managed in most dental office settings through a practice's standard disinfecting process. Nonetheless, a lot of dust can be prevented from settling on surfaces and lingering in the air around your practice. 

Key sources of dust in your practice include ultrafine dust particles from procedures that involve drilling and polishing and dust from the grinding of materials in a dental lab. Dust from both these sources is hazardous and can be inhaled and absorbed directly into your bloodstream causing also sorts of health issues.

So, you cannot afford to take dust lightly in your practice. With a reliable air purifier, you can easily minimize dental office dust in your air and prevent a lot of related issues that occur in the long term.

5. Poor Protection From PPE and HVAC

Far too often in the dental office, practitioners and staff believe their air conditioners, HVAC system, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is sufficient to protect them from poor air quality and airborne infections. It does not help that this is what is prescribed as sufficient when training dental health professionals. 

However, the reality is that as much as these measures are important, on their own they are far from sufficient. Numerous studies show that surgical masks fail to retain or filter out ultrafine air contaminants like those produced daily in a dental practice.

As for those who have faith in the HVAC, studies have found that in a dental and hospital setting alike, all they do is just recirculate bad air. Your HVAC literally just blows and moves airborne bacteria, viruses, and all sorts of contaminants around your office. 

So looking at the facts, it's very clear additional intervention is required beyond your PPE and HVAC to deal with poor and dangerous air quality in a dental office. Something that directly cleans air is necessary and at the moment of writing this article by far the most effective solution to turn to is an air purifier.

6. Productivity

If you have poor air quality as a result of the activities in your office, it is only a matter of time before it starts affecting your productivity. The sad part about the impact of poor air quality on productivity largely goes unnoticed because of its subtleness. 

Poor air quality not only affects your productivity by making you and your staff sick but also by increasing the level of cleaning and disinfecting you have to do. 

Poor dental office air quality means more time and resources spent cleaning up your practice. It also means fewer man-hours due to sick leave and lower employee energy levels. To minimize or avoid all these productivity costs, at least for me, it just makes a lot of sense investing in an air purifier if you are running a dental practice.

7. Compliance With Occupational Health and Safety Act

Based on a survey conducted by the U.S Department of Labor, it was found that all dental professions in general were found to be the most high-risk professions when it comes to health. People working in a dental practice were in more danger than those working in mining or metal refining.

Do you know the reason why? It’s all because of the hazardous bioaerosols and air pollutants produced in a dental practice. Accordingly, from an Occupational Health and Safety (OHSA) perspective, dental practices are on the radar of government officials when it comes to ensuring their workers are protected from the dangers in their work environment.

OHS Acts from different countries vary, with some being more strictly enforced than others, but so you are not found wanting, and also putting myself in the dental practitioner’s shoes, I would want to ensure I meet all OSHA requirements for the jurisdiction I am running my practice in.

So, as poor air quality was found to be the main OHS threat in a dental office, it's something I would strive to improve to ensure I comply with OHS requirements in my business jurisdiction. Furthermore, investing in an air purifier would just ease my conscious knowing that I am doing right by the law and that I am prioritizing my team’s health.

So these are all the main reasons why you should get a dental office air purifier and there have been numerous studies showing their major positive impact on air quality within a practice. 

One such study that really hit home was a pilot study on bioaerosol reduction using an air cleaning system during dental procedures. In this study, it was clearly found that bioaerosols created during dental procedures can be significantly reduced using an air cleaning system. 

So looking at everything I have shared with you, there is very little reason why you shouldn’t get an air purifier for your practice. Armed with these arguments in support of getting an air purifier we are now ready to look into what type of air purifier you should actually get and specific models that work best for a dental office.

What Type Of Air Purifier Is Best For A Dental Office?

There are just over 17 varieties of air purifiers out there.  Of these, some will and will not work well in dental offices. I won’t touch all the different types but I will tell which to avoid and go for from the various commonly available types.

For dental offices, the type of air purifiers you wanna go for are the ones that can get rid of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), bacteria and germs, and common solid ultrafine air particulates produced in a dental practice and lab. In short, you wanna avoid ionic air purifiers and ozone generators.

Ionic air purifiers and ozone generators are not suitable for dental offices because these types of air purifiers produce ozone. The trouble with ozone is that as much as it's a powerful air cleaning agent, it's corrosive and dangerous when inhaled by humans. It's especially dangerous around people with respiratory issues.

Additionally, many ionic air purifiers work by dispersing ions into the air to neutralize air pollutants and once these pollutants are neutralized they fall to the ground and on surfaces and make a bit of mess. This means more unwanted cleaning to be done in your office and so you are really better off staying away from an ionic air purifier. 

The types of air purifiers that will work for a dental office are hybrid True HEPA air purifiers. There are many hybrids out there, some come with UV light filters to focus on killing bacteria and other microorganisms, others claim to use ozone and ionizers without dangerously releasing any by-products into your air.

Many of the variations you find will work but I personally recommend Activated Carbon True HEPA air purifiers with UV or Activated Carbon True HEPA with Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) air purifiers for a dental office. Both types work well but the PCO hybrid is more thorough as the PCO part of the filter actually decomposes VOCs, chemicals, and gaseous pollutants, beyond just bacteria, germs, and viruses as UV filters do.

These hybrids are excellent as they will deal not only with solid air particulates but all sorts of gases, vapors, chemical fumes, odors, pathogens, and germs in your air. For more detail on how all these different types of air purifiers work, check out my post about that here

However, for now, just know that the above types I have just mentioned are what works and have been proven time and again as the most reliable in a dental office. Of these types of air purifiers, you can further break them down into general room air purifiers and source capture air purifiers.

The usual HEPA room air purifiers work by being placed in any suitable position in a room and sucking up all your polluted air and releasing clean air back into your room. On the other hand, source capture air purifiers work by using a funnel and flexible hose system which is positioned close to your patient's mouth.

Then as you conduct your dental procedure the air purifier simultaneously sucks up all the nasty pollutants being released from the process before it spreads around your office. The source capture system also works in the same way in a dental lab by positioning it at your workstation where all the drilling and grinding of materials is happening. 

A source capture system works pretty much like a vacuum cleaner but goes beyond just sucking dirt out of your air. It sucks filthy stuff out of the air before it spreads in your room, then cleans it up, and finally releases this air back into your room for you to safely inhale. 

To effectively tackle pollutants, ideally, in a dental office you should have both a source capture and general room air purifier. So, now we have finally seen what type of air purifier we need by type of filtration system.

But when we look at the type of air purifier you should be aiming for, the story goes beyond just filtration systems. The other aspects you have to look at include the noise level of your purifier, its running cost, airflow capacity, and whether it has smart features or not.

The physical size of your air purifier is also important if you do not have that much space in your practice but beyond that, you have to make sure you get an air purifier of the correct size in terms of room coverage. When it comes to size, go for an air purifier that covers at least 200 square feet more of space than your specific room’s size. 

So if your room is 300 square feet, get an air purifier with a coverage capacity of 500 square feet. The airflow should be at least 3 ACH but ideally over 5 ACH. ACH means air exchange per hour and so your air purifier needs to manage at least 3 air exchanges per hour to clean your air well in a dental office setting.

When it comes to operating costs, air purifiers are not so bad when it comes to energy consumption, but what really adds up in terms of cost is your filter replacement costs. In a dental clinic, you need to go for air purifiers with filters that can last for at least a year if you run your air purifier for 12 hours daily. 

Usually, the pattern is that the longer your air purifier components last, the more expensive they are to replace, but if you work things out over the long term, longer-lasting filters more often than not turn out to be more cost-effective if you divide their cost over the period they last you. 

Lastly, you should aim as much as possible to go for an air purifier with smart features. With smart features, your air purifier can operate autonomously using internal sensors to optimize your air quality. You can also control it from your phone or over the internet and schedule it to turn on and off automatically. 

Your air purifier will also notify you when you need to change its filters or maintain it.  Some air purifiers with smart filters can also tell you how good or bad your air quality is, enabling you to take immediate actions to improve things. 

With an air purifier with smart features, you save a lot of time managing your appliance. On this final aspect to watch for, I can say this is all there is when it comes to the type of air purifier you should go for in your dental office. 

Just to add on some scenarios to keep in mind, in some cases, you will find very good True HEPA air purifiers that do not have a UV or PCO filtering component. In such circumstances, you can go for such an air purifier but you should ideally supplement it with a second appliance that has either a UV or PCO filter. 

Sometimes, you also have situations where your air purifier is purely PCO based. In the same way, you can get a second air purifier with an activated carbon True HEPA filter. That way you continue to ensure you are tackling all the different types of air pollutants in your office’s air. 

However, if you are going to get multiple purifiers, for both your dental lab and theatre, what I have seen works best is to get one general activated carbon HEPA UVC or PCO air purifier and source capture air purifier. Additionally, you want to make sure you have a general room air purifier in your reception and waiting room area.

I hope I have not overloaded you with info here but if you managed to get through this section of the post, I believe you are now ready to look at and pick out specific models that are well suited for your dental office. In this light, we can now look at some models I found highly tailored to a dental office setting. 

4 Powerful Air Purifiers  For Dental Offices

Of the various air purifiers out there, four stood out for me for the dental office. Of the four two can be modified into source capture systems while the others are general air purifiers. Let's take a look at them.

1. Surgically Clean Air

Widely recommended by professionals and on various websites, Surgically Clean Air’s (SCA) range of air purifiers are for me the most comprehensive air cleaning units for a dental practice, especially from a filtration perspective. 

SCA air purifiers are hybrid with 6 stages of filters. These series of filters get rid of everything you need to get rid of in your practice’s air. They filter everything from airborne germs to aerosols, gases, and particulates. 

Their purifier filtration system consists of a permanent prefilter, carbon filter, True HEPA filter, a UV-C filter, an ionic purification chamber, and hydroxyl radical reactivity chamber. You usually do not want an ionic feature on your air purifier, but SCA’s is designed differently.

The ionic feature is enclosed in a chamber and when it cleans your air does not release any byproducts into your air. The by-products are rather dealt with by the other filters in the air purifier before they can get into your air. 

The SCA range of air purifiers are also smart enabled and come with a range of automated functions to make keeping your air clean easy. Of their range, two specific models come highly recommended for dental practices. These are the SCA Jade and Cascade air purifier.

The Jade is to be placed in smaller rooms like your theatre while the Cascade is much larger and recommended for larger spaces like waiting areas, corridors, and your reception. 

SCA’s air purifiers are lacking though in that they have no source capture feature. They are also quite tedious to maintain as you can see in the below video.

Regardless, they have a strong airflow capacity, cleaning up to 400 cubic feet of air per minute which is more than enough to get rid of pollutants fast enough from your air.

For an extra level of protection, I would supplement the Jade air purifier with a source capture air purifier of any other brand. SCA’s air purifiers are quite high-end air purifiers, and at the pricier end of the scale when it comes to dental office air purifiers. 

That said, these air purifiers are well worth the cost and you are unlikely to be disappointed as you will see results and feel the major improvement they make to your practice’s air. 

What’s more, your purchase experience is personalized, with great customer support and a no questions warranty. If you have the budget, the Jade and Cascade air purifiers should be your first choice for a general room air purifier in your practice. For more info, you can check out the Surgically Clean Air dental air purifiers here.

2. Airgle 

Airgle air purifiers are made with medical and dental practitioners in mind. The two specific models you should be looking at are the Airgle AG600 and AG900. The only difference between the two is room coverage capacity with the AG600 covering about 200 square feet and the AG900 about 600 square feet.

The Airgle purifiers come with an activated carbon filter, UV filter, and an enhanced True HEPA filter that can filter air pollutants down to 0.003 microns. Both recommended models can manage 5 ACH for the specified area they cover.

Their filtration system is fit for purpose in a dental office setting, taking out all the main air contaminants produced in a dental lab and theatre. Furthermore, these two purifiers are beautifully crafted and have a source capture system attachment that seamlessly fits on to their main body

The bummer however is that you do have to get the source capture FlexHose attachment separately. The video below shows how the whole source capture attachment works in more detail.

The Airgle purifiers also come with smart features indicating your air quality and your filter life. Their smart feature is quite standard and nothing to be amazed about though. 

Lastly, Airgle boasts about the quietness of their air purifiers which is much welcomed in a dental setting. The Airgle air purifiers are also on the higher end of the price scale when it comes to dental air purifiers. You can learn more about the Airgle AG900 and 600 here on Airgle’s website.

3. IQ Air

The  IQAir HealthPro Plus is another great air purifier unit that can be converted into a source capture air purifier with a source capture system attachment. The source capture system was designed specifically for dental practitioners and it works by attaching it to the HealthPro general room air purifier. You can have a look at how it works in the video below.

IQAir in fact modified their HealthPro air purifier specifically for dealing with dental office pollutants. The modified air purifiers are classified as their Dental Series. The filters in these purifiers include enhanced True HEPA filters, activated carbon filters, and an electrostatically charged fiber chamber.

The HealthPro can clean air at 3 ACH in a space of about 700 square feet. It comes with some standard smart functions, like indicating when you need to change your filter and auto-timer to schedule when and at what speed your air purifier should come on autonomously.

The only issue for me with this air purifier is that it does not have a UV or PCO filter. However, the electrostatic fiber filter does to some degree accomplish the role of the UV and PCO filters.

Nonetheless, if I got this air purifier I would mainly get it for its source capture feature and supplement it with a general room air purifier that has a UV or PCO feature. In terms of pricing, the IQAir is also the higher end for dental office air purifiers at about $3000.

My final take on the IQAir is that it is an effective air purifier and it will work well. However, it’s not my first choice for the dental office. I would go with it because it's more widely available globally and its components are easy to find and replace.

However, you will get better performance from the other options I mentioned earlier. To learn more about the IQAir Dental Series of air purifiers click here.

4. EnviroKlenz 

The final air purifier on my list of powerful dental office air purifiers is the Enviroklenz air purifier. This is air purifier is mainly a general room air purifier but as shown in the video below Enviroklenz has introduced a source capture version of their air purifier tailored for dental practices.

This air purifier has an activated Carbon and True HEPA filter, and UV-C filter as required for a dental office air purifier. It however has an old-school, analog control panel with indicator lights that tell you when your filters or UV lights need replacing. 

At first glance, it looks like a basic air purifier but when tried and tested against the best of air purifiers, it has proven itself time and again to be more effective at dealing with all sorts of air pollutants including those in a dental practice. The video below convinced me about this air purifier's ability and effectiveness.

This air purifier will effectively clean your air at 3 ACH in a room size of about 700 square feet. Don’t be fooled by how basic it looks. It is a workhorse of an air purifier and will do a great job in the reception area, lab, or theatre of your practice alongside a source capture air purifier. 

This air purifier is definitely not for you if you are looking for something aesthetically appealing. Go for this one if all you are concerned about is getting clean air in your practice. 

At about $800 it is on the lower price end for effective dental office air purifiers. You can learn more about the Enviroklenz air purifier here on their website.

Other Great Dental Office Air Purifier Options 

Now, the four air purifiers I have shown you in my opinion are the most reliable options.t I know for sure they will work for your practice and give you a good return on your investment. However, there are other options you can explore out there. 

Some other options I stumbled on worth considering include:

  1. Nateosante Eolis  - A range of general room air purifiers
  2. Quatro Air - A range of source capture systems, dust collectors, and air purifiers
  3. Vanguard Mobile 2.0 - A source capture air purifier
  4. SoHome External Oral Suction - A source capture air purifier

BE sure to let me know in the comments below if you have questions about other options I have not touched on or the ones I have recommended.

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Dental Office Air Purifier

Once you have chosen your air purifier, the story does not end there. There are certain steps you have to take to ensure that it’s giving you the best possible air quality in your practice. 

I will not get into the details here but to guide you below is a summarized list of the steps you should take to optimize your air purifier’s performance in your practice.

  1. Run your air purifier for at least 12 hours a day and at all times you are in your dental practice
  2. Place your air purifier on a flat secure surface away from any obstructions to its airflow.
  3. Routinely inspect and maintain your air purifier as per your appliance’s manual
  4. Test your air quality periodically  to ensure your air purifier is always working well.

If you implement these four key steps in ensuring you are optimally running an air purifier in your practice.

Additional Steps To Ensure Clean Air In Your Dental Office

The other thing when you have an air purifier is that you still need to continue to implement hygiene measures in your practice to minimize the volume of pollutants getting into your air.

Accordingly here is a list of things you should be doing to minimize pollution in your dental office in addition to running an air purifier:

  • Use high-volume wide-bore aspiration and pre-procedural antiseptic mouth rinse before conducting the procedure to reduce pathogens and bacteria contained in bioaerosols
  • Use a rubber dam to eliminate microorganisms in your air arising from blood or saliva within your patient’s mouth
  • Use high-velocity evacuation or suction to minimize bioaerosols escaping into your air from your patient’s mouth
  • Clean and maintain your HVAC system regularly
  • Disinfect and clean your practice with eco friendly cleaning chemicals
  • Use alternatives to Amalgam and Mercury-based materials wherever possible to avoid mercury leaks into your air.

With these extra measures in mind, I can finally conclude this post. If you have taken the time to read through this entire post, you should now be in a position to easily take the steps to ensure good air quality in your dental practice.

About the Author

Jean-Baptiste

Jean is a research economist by profession and he runs Fresh Air Genie. He is enthusiastic about maintaining good air quality at home and on the go and he shares his knowledge about this here at Fresh Air Genie.

Leave a Comment