Facemasks are an integral part of your dentist’s safety practices. Paired with gloves and excellent hygiene habits, masks help to protect you from potentially harmful particles becoming airborne. However, not all masks are created equally. Learn about the 4 types of ASTM masks and how your dentist in Colorado Springs uses them to keep you safe.
Levels of ASTM Facemasks
The ASTM (formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials) is an organization that tests and publishes standards on a wide range of materials, including medical facemasks. They have designated 3 different levels of facemask efficacy and set standards for when to use them, based primarily around their fluid resistance. Fluid resistance essentially indicates how effective they are as barriers against sprays, fluids, and aerosols.
ASTM Level 1
These types of masks are the most basic and have the lowest fluid resistance of the three types. Typically, they are used during exams, operatory cleaning, lab work, and orthodontics. They provide sufficient coverage for activities that don’t result in any fluid or particles becoming airborne.
ASTM Level 2
Level 2 masks are a step up in protection. They have a greater fluid resistance than their Level 1 counterparts. These types of masks are commonly used during non-surgical dental procedures like routine cleanings, non-surgical periodontal therapy, root canals, sealant placement, and restorative dentistry. They are considered to be a moderate barrier during most routine dental treatment.
ASTM Level 3
Level 3 masks offer the highest degree of protection as they have the greatest fluid resistance of the three types. They are used in situations in which large amounts of fluid, aerosols, and splatter are produced. This type of mask is especially useful during situations such as implant placement, oral surgery, periodontal surgery, and crown preparation.
During the pandemic, most dental offices are taking their safety standards to the next level and using Level 3 masks in addition to N95 respirators. This combination of protection helps to effectively negate the spread of all airborne particles and microorganisms. Additional face and hand protection paired with their already high safety standards make dental offices some of the safest places you can be during the pandemic.
About the Author
Dr. Kenneth O. Gasper II knows how stressful life during the pandemic can be. He takes pride in being able to provide his patients with world-class dentistry in a safe, sterile environment. He is a graduate of the LSU School of Dentistry and has spent decades becoming an expert in the dental field. He has spent thousands of hours continuing his education and has studied at some of the most prestigious dental institutions like the Las Vegas Institute, the Pankey Institute, and the Southwest Center for Advanced Clinical Studies. When you receive care at Aesthetic Dentistry by Design, you are receiving the best dental care available. If you’d like to learn more about how Dr. Gasper and his team are keeping patients safe during the pandemic, give the office a call at (719) 626-4145 or send them an email.