An effective surgical face mask, also called a facial mask, is designed to be worn only by medical professionals during surgical procedures. It is intended to avoid infections in personnel and patients by capturing droplets of fluid, saliva and bacteria from the patient’s mouth and nose, and then filtering them out of the patient’s airway through tiny holes that are placed into the mask. The face mask should be sterilized before every use to prevent transmission of germs or viruses from the patient to the surgical staff.
Surgical face masks are commonly used for the treatment of burns from drugs. They are worn either at the time of the procedure, or on the post-operative day, and are worn for about an hour or more afterwards. This is because they allow the burn or drug to heal without obstruction by the skin. In fact, most burns heal without intervention at all, but if the burn is severe or is near a vital organ, such as the heart, then the physician may want to use a face mask. They may also be used to provide relief from pain after surgery for patients who have had open or multiple incisions, such as patients with breast or colorectal cancer.
Face masks are sometimes used for the prevention of infection during dental procedures, including root canals and root planing. They are often used as “dental masks” to keep the patient’s mouth and gums dry during the dental procedure. Dental hygienists may also use face masks during cleaning procedures and during procedures to clean cavities or gum disease.
Face masks have also been used by some dentists for treatment of oral yeast infections. The fungus responsible for this condition thrives in moist, warm environments, and the use of a face mask may help to dry out the fungus and kill it. A number of face masks are available that prevent yeast growth. One of these is the antimicrobial mask that contains a mixture of zinc oxide and alcohol.
Some other uses for face masks are cosmetic and therapeutic. For example, the doctor may want to use a face mask as an aide in cleaning the nose or sinus cavities after a nose job, to keep the nose clear and help avoid further infection. Anesthetic eye drops are also often placed under the nose using a mask to control excessive airflow during the operation. and to help protect the eye tissues from damage caused by the anesthesia.
Before any of these uses for a face mask is attempted, the patient should consult his or her physician, as to the risks and benefits of any procedure before doing so. For example, if the face mask should cause damage to the nose, eyes or throat, the procedure should not be performed and if it could cause temporary or long term hearing or vision problems, the mask should not be used.