Study shows polymers eliminate aerosolisation in dental settings

7 September 2020

Researchers at the University of Chicago in Illinois have discovered that adding food-grade polymers to water in dental settings completely eliminates the production of aerosolised particles. 

Declaring that "the forces of a vibrating tool or dentist's drill are no match for the viscoelastic properties of food-grade polymers", Alexander Yarin and his colleagues determined that only a small admixture is needed to achieve the “surprising” results, which were published in a paper in Physics of Fluids by AIP Publishing. 

Two FDA-approved polymers were used in the research – Polyacrylic acid and xanthan gum – with the former proving more effective than the latter due its high elongational and low shear viscosity which aids in pumping. 

Commenting on the results, Alexander Yarin noted: 

“It was amazing that these materials were capable of so easily and completely suppressing aerosolization by dental tools, with significant inertial forces involved. Nevertheless, the elastic forces generated by small polymer additives were stronger.” 

For more on this story, go to “Polymers completely eliminate aerosolization during dental procedures”