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Science & Technology

Nightmarish anti-Covid dental helmet revealed

January 13, 2021 | Comment icon 9 comments



Would you wear this at the dentist ? Image Credit: Physics of Fluids / Jia et al.
Researchers have come up with a less-than-appealing solution to visiting the dentist during the pandemic.
It goes without saying that Covid-19 has taken away many of the aspects of everyday life that we had, until recently at least, taken for granted, such as going to the cinema, eating at a restaurant and even going to the dentist - something that most of us do every six months.

For the dentists themselves however, examining the inside of a patient's mouth represents a uniquely risky situation, especially given that Covid-19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets.

Now researchers have come up with a novel solution to this problem - a plastic helmet resembling an upside-down goldfish bowl that fits over the patient's head and forms an airtight seal.

The helmet has two holes - one to provide access to the mouth and another to fit an air-filtration nozzle. When the patient breathes out, the droplets are sucked upwards and out the top, instead of being exhaled forwards onto the dentist - thus helping to prevent infection.
The device would be cleaned between uses to prevent contaminants getting stuck inside it.

"It would have a similar feel as driving with the windows down," said study author Dongjie Jia of Cornell University. "The drop in pressure is relatively small, so there shouldn't be any discomfort."

Whether anyone will actually be willing to wear this thing during a dental visit however remains to be seen, especially given the reservations many have about going to the dentist at the best of times.

As things stand, it seems unlikely that it will catch on.

Source: Inverse | Comments (9)



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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by rashore 11 months ago
That's.... silly. I kind of wonder if researchers spoke with any dentists or hygienists about how that might work.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Desertrat56 11 months ago
I went to the dentist 2 weeks ago to get my teeth cleaned. Everyone was masked and gloved up. No one allowed to just walk in.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Susanc241 11 months ago
My husband has some dental work done a couple of weeks ago and he said the dentist wore one of the plastic hood type protectors. Plus all the other necessary PPE coverings. That seems to be the way to go.
Comment icon #4 Posted by glorybebe 11 months ago
As long as I wouldn't have to wear it, my claustrophobia would do me in.
Comment icon #5 Posted by rashore 11 months ago
My dentist has full PPE too... my notion more was how difficult it would be to work on someone with a thing like that on their head. Reaching into a hole to get to the mouth... and how gross having that helmet would be with it sucking air out through the top. What about the spittle and water and such that can sometimes fly during dental stuff? Or trying to work devices and X-ray slides around?The dentist has a little suction for in the mouth, but anything that overspray would spray right over the patients face while the air was sucked out of the helmet.
Comment icon #6 Posted by NCC1701 11 months ago
I cannot see how the dentist is going to work through such a small hole.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Desertrat56 11 months ago
I am wondering if this is actually some joke. No dentist would use something like that mask.
Comment icon #8 Posted by pallidin 11 months ago
Yeah, I've also put back my dental appointments because they're just too damn close to my face during this Covid crisis. Heard that Covid could roll through the entirety of 2021 before enough people get shots. Probably won't schedule a dentist visit until 2022. Regarding the mask, the general principle seems sound, as it's a "suction device", but not sure how effective it is in practice, but maybe it's OK. Hell, I don't know.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Love Buzz 11 months ago
I'm a dental hygienist. I would feel safe coming to our office as a patient. We're doing everything we could possibly do to keep everyone safe. We have the suction vacuums. we open the windows, have air purifiers in each room, we're diligent on cleanliness in our office wiping everything down in between patients. Thankfully it seems most of our patients have been honest and will postpone their appointment if they have been exposed or have not been feeling well. Wearing all the PPE is hell. It's uncomfortable and takes time to put on and take off. Most of my boss's colleagues are taking all the... [More]


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