Orthodontists, orthodontic assistants, technicians, and other staff members are frequently involved in aerosol generating procedures that require close contact with human mouths. For this reason, individuals within this practice setting are at increased risk of exposure to infectious diseases - not only COVID-19 but also the common cold and seasonal flu, all of which are viral-based infections that spread via respiratory droplets.
The risk of exposure within orthodontists' offices remains even with best-practice hygiene and social distance measures, simply as a consequence of the very nature of orthodontics. High-speed drilling, cleaning, grinding, polishing, and other techniques essential to quality care can easily produce and spread infectious aerosolized particles.
Clearly, a safe and long-term solution is essential for orthodontists who are looking to remain competitive. It was this very desire to keep his staff and patients safe that inspired Racine orthodontist Dr. Gary W. Chu to make a major investment in his practice this year: the FX2 Extraction Arm from Nederman. This industry-leading, innovative aerosol extraction technology is helping Dr. Chu and his staff serve their community safer than ever.
Meet the Chu Crew
Dr. Gary Chu is a native of Denver, Colorado. He received his Doctor of Dental surgery degree at the prestigious University of Texas San Antonio Dental School and completed his orthodontic residency at The University of Iowa College of Dentistry. Dr. Chu has served the Racine, WI community for more than 20 years. In that time, he and his staff have never seen anything quite like COVID-19.
"Racine, Wisconsin is currently a hotspot for [COVID-19]," Dr. Chu says. "We are seeing positivity rates of 62 percent." Not exactly the kind of record-breaking a community wants to be known for.
Facing these worrisome statistics, Dr. Chu knew he needed to take purposeful, research-backed action to ensure his office was a clean, safe environment for his patients. He didn't want to force his patients to delay seeking necessary care simply because they were fearful of visiting the office.
Dr. Chu also knew he needed to provide a safe environment for his staff so they could all continue to serve their community and do their jobs. "There are a lot of aerosols generated [in our office] through grinding and polishing. We are operating hand tools at 20,000 RPMs which are air driven, so aerosols are generated at a high rate."
Plus, he adds, "hygienists are working directly in patients' mouths for a half-hour at a time during aerosol-generating procedures. This the most dangerous job right now due to exposure." Even with increased cleaning, sanitization, and in-office social distancing, this particular risk to his staff would remain unmitigated—unless he found another protective solution.
The FX2 Aerosol Control Solution for the Chu Crew
Dr. Chu heard about the FX2 solution through a colleague. He was so interested in its unique benefits that he applied for Wisconsin's We're All In Grant and used the funding to purchase an FX2 arm for his own practice.
The Nederman FX2 Extraction is currently used in dental settings, as well as other industries, such as manufacturing plants, cleanrooms and laboratories. Dr. Chu found many aspects of the FX2 solution appealing for his specific office needs.
For one, there is no air filter maintenance required. This means the impact on his office's workflow is minimal to none. Dr. Chu also worked with a certified Nederman dealer Summit Filtration who installed the FX2 equipment based on the Chu Crew's unique office layout. The professional support, Dr. Chu says, “Made the process even easier and more cost-effective.
The FX2 arm is designed to take up minimal space and is lightweight and ergonomic, making it easy to use for the staff. It's also quiet and blends in seamlessly with their existing equipment. This lends the FX2 a degree of aesthetic appeal that isn't frightening nor off-putting to patients—patients who already may be on edge due to the pandemic.
And unlike conventional HEPA/HVAC ambient air solutions found in most orthodontist settings, the FX2 captures and filters air directly at the source. This significantly reduces the number of aerosolized particles and other debris circulating into the air, thereby dramatically minimizing exposure to the people in the office.
Benefits of the FX2 Aerosol Control Solution
So far, Dr. Chu and his staff—along with their patients—couldn't be happier. "We love it," Dr. Chu says. "It's a great product."
The office is safer and cleaner. Now, the staff can focus on doing their jobs with the standard of excellence and quality that Dr. Chu's patients have come to expect and depend on.
||"We love the Nederman system and the ability to get fresh air into our room," Dr. Chu says. "We open a window and the Nederman arm pulls in the fresh air and recirculates that in the office." Knowing that they've taken extra steps to ensure the safety and cleanliness of their office has also helped get existing and prospective patients in the door in a more timely way. "It feels safer in the office than in public," Dr. Chu notes, adding that people aren't afraid to make appointments.
Overall, Dr. Chu notes that the FX2 extraction arm has provided a long-term and highly effective solution for reducing contaminant exposure for his staff and patients—and their office isn't looking back. "We are the first and only installation of this equipment to address aerosols in Wisconsin," Dr. Chu says.
"Our approach is the wave of the future and these extra protocols are here to stay."
FX2 - Award-winning technology to address COVID-19
Dr. Chu is thrilled to announce that their installation of the Nederman FX2 Aerosol Control Solution won them an award through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), We're All Innovating Contest, as a "Technology Innovation to Address COVID-19 Impacts on Health." Dr. Chu says, “This award helped cover the costs of installing the Nederman FX2 system.” The contest was created by the WEDC in the fall of 2020 to recognize and promote the creative ways startups and small businesses are adapting to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. When Dr. Chu installed the FX2 extraction arms over the summer, they never dreamed of having the project funded, but Dr. Chu made the decision that their patient and staff’s safety was their top priority.
“We truly feel that these arms have made Chu Crew Orthodontics the safest clinic around, and are so thankful to have been chosen as a WEDC, We’re All Innovating Contest winner!” says Dr. Chu.
Contact a local Clean Air Expert to learn more about the Nederman FX2 Aerosol Control Solution