Air purifier donation supports safety at Schulich Dentistry clinics

In early February 2021, 25 new air purifier units were delivered to Schulich Dentistry as a generous donation from Austin Air, a Waterloo-based air filtration company.

In keeping with COVID-19 air safety regulations from the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, Dr. Rae Dorian, Assistant Director, Clinical Affairs, says the School was in the process of researching manufacturers and suppliers from whom they could purchase the necessary equipment when they contacted Austin Air.

“When we approached Austin Air for a quote for the purchase of the units, they said they would like to donate them instead,” Dr. Dorion said. “The owner of the company said ‘we need to make sure those dental students keep progressing forward toward graduating and we want to help.’”

The Royal College requires the use of air purification systems in closed clinic rooms when aerosols are generated to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Any time a dental drill is used, aerosols are produced. After the procedure is completed, the room has to be vacated to allow for the air to clear; this is known as fallow time.

“In older buildings with less modern ventilation, fallow time can be as long as a few hours. However, the use of air purifiers drastically improves the air exchange rate and filters any contaminants, like viruses, in the process.  Thus the fallow time can be reduced from hours to minutes,” Dr. Dorion explained.

The units improve overall air quality in the clinics during the procedures as well, making the space safer for students, staff and patients alike.