A surgical face mask, also referred to as a medical face mask is designed to be worn by medical professionals during dental procedures. Surgical masks are designed to prevent infections in dental patients and treating staff by capturing airborne bacteria and liquid droplets from the mouth and nose of the wearer. These are also used to reduce or eliminate any odours that may have emanated from the treated area. This helps to reduce the level of discomfort in the patient, reduce unnecessary movement and promote a safe environment. It can also be used for facial puncture applications when small amounts of blood, or any other fluids, are drawn from the face during the procedure.
There are a few key factors that must be considered when choosing the right face mask. First, consider the skin type of the person to whom the face mask will be applied. Face masks for different skin types have varying degrees of effectiveness, depending on the skin type of the patient. The type of skin that is used to make up the face mask will also impact the type of mask that will be best suited for the patient. The following factors should be considered to determine the correct face mask for one’s needs:
o Types – there are two layers in most face masks. The first layer is made up of a flexible absorbent material, such as sterile vinyl or spandex, which holds the breathable membrane in place. The second layer is a support layer that is elastic but slightly stiff. The support layer may also include pockets or sponges that can be used to pull the mask into the appropriate position. Some masks feature one or two pockets, which allow patients to easily remove a breathable piece of face mask while washing their hair or cooking. Some of these masks include two-piece attachments with reusable sponges and disposable bioplastics.
o Wearing – some people are more susceptible to adverse reactions to face masks than others. Smokers, people with allergies, and people who wear glasses or contact lenses are at greater risk for allergic reactions to some forms of face masks than are others. In addition, some patients may find that wearing a face mask while performing tasks in which they have to breathe such as operating machinery or swimming increases the risks of inhaling particles that are breathed in by the mask. Patients with asthma or other breathing problems should consult their doctors before wearing a face mask while caring for a sick patient. Similarly, any person with a history of allergies to latex or other such similar materials should also avoid wearing a face mask while performing oral procedures such as dentistry. If patients cannot remove their face mask during these tasks, then they should consult with their doctor, who may recommend disposable or washable gloves.
o Materials – different materials are used for manufacturing the face mask itself. One of the most common materials used to manufacture the membrane is nylon. Nylon has some advantages over other materials such as vinyl and pleated membranes. For example, nylon does not trap water droplets the way other fabrics do, which leads to reduced condensation between the filter and the wearer. Also, nylon is breathable, meaning that it allows some air to pass through it and out to provide a comfortable feeling.
o Drip Properties – a popular alternative to using disposable plastic filter cloths and other materials is to use multiple layers of fabric. Multiple layers can add extra comfort and moisture to the wearer. The most popular form of multiple layer fabric is washable soft fabric. This type of material is used in many of the face masks sold today. Some of the softer face masks use more than one layer of fabric. The multiple layers provide excellent ventilation and a more even distribution of the airflow through the mask.