A surgical face mask, also called a dental face mask, is designed to be worn only by qualified health care professionals during dental care procedures. Surgical masks are designed to prevent infection in patients and preventing the spread of infections by capturing bacteria shed by the nose and mouth of the wearer. It is used as an additional preventative measure to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination of the surgical site. It is worn during procedures involving the nose and mouth and is removed once the procedure is completed. Masks have a long history in the medical profession and have been used for centuries. They were first invented around the 12th century and are still used extensively today.
Historically, the mask was made out of a heavy, fabric, composed of a netting inside a cloth body that was sewn at strategic places. The fabric was breathable and allowed air exchange through the mask. The netting was made of a mixture of hemp and sinew, which was tightly rolled, but not quite full. This meant that air could pass through the fabric while still keeping tiny particles from entering the patient’s lungs. The face was covered, so dirt and debris could not enter the mask itself. In some cases, a cloth covering the face was also worn to further prevent any foreign matter from entering the patient’s respiratory system.
The first modern masks were made of metal and comprised a mesh screen that was designed to capture air. Over time, improvements were made to these designs. Mesh was replaced with pieces of fabric, and eventually to filters. The cloth masks of the early times were constructed to capture small particles, and contain bacteria and viruses while still allowing air to circulate through the mask. Modern mask designs are designed to capture and contain larger particles of bacteria and larger, more dangerous particulates such as blood and other solid materials.
Because these masks have been used for decades, they have had the opportunity to see and experience many changes and advancements in their design. The nasal strips that most masks now come with, first discovered in the 1970s, originally contained a plastic disc that was stuck to the inside of the nose to keep it closed. The discs have since been improved upon and today contain magnets that push the nasal flaps open and allow them to function as they should. These improvements allow for the virus, bacteria, and other allergens that can spread through the use of a flu mask to be kept out of the nasal passages where the virus and bacteria can mutate into more dangerous forms.
Another advancement in recent years has been the addition of an “invisible” layer of materials onto the top layer of a mask. This layer is composed of polyurethane or other synthetic materials that allow the air to move through the mask while keeping out materials that might cause the flu or other infection forming particles to spread through the mask. This type of technology is usually applied to a disposable mask that is worn during the day when it’s important to have clear nasal access. The invisible layer is usually applied to the inside of the mask or directly over the top so that it cannot be washed like other disposable masks are. While this technology has seen a great deal of improvement in recent years, some people still opt for the traditional vinyl filter masks because they have a more comfortable fit and don’t require the extra layer of technology.
While a lot of people may think twice about the benefits of wearing masks in general, they should really consider the possibility of getting sick from using a mask without filter. While there are serious health risks involved in getting the flu or other viruses, a simple cold can quickly turn into a full blown flu and very dangerous. In some cases, people may not have a choice but to wear masks when the need arises, and that’s why it’s important to understand the risks of not filtering your breathing air. Wearing masks may not always protect you against everything, but it will definitely allow you to breathe freely and avoid taking too many chances with your health.