Using a Vented Face Mask
A surgical face mask, sometimes called a medical face mask, is designed to be worn by medical practitioners during specific medical procedures in order to avoid airborne transmission of microorganisms from the patient to the medical personnel who will be involved in the procedure. Masks are also used during cosmetic procedures in order to maintain skin integrity, prevent bacterial build-up, and to improve appearance. Face masks are generally worn to keep the patient’s breathe unobstructed and his or her mouth and nose free of debris. Face masks also provide protection against allergic reactions to particulate matter and dust. A surgical face mask has three parts: the nosepiece, the chin strap, and the face shield.
The nosepiece, sometimes called a cannula, is the part of the surgical face mask that fits over the nose. It is necessary for the patient to breathe through this piece in order to avoid obstruction of the breathing passageway. Although it is usually made of sterile materials, sometimes disposable plastic pieces are used, in which case they must be replaced after wearing for a certain period of time. The nosepiece functions as a tight seal in order to prevent the passage of bacteria and other particles that can potentially harm the wearer.
The chin strap is the second part of the mask. This strap is placed over the mouth and nose and is held by a length of Velcro or other fabric. It can be adjusted in order to fit the patient’s size and shape. The mask is then fastened around the chin with small hooks attached at different points, so that it can be worn just below the hairline, but comfortably above the ears. The face shield is similar to the nosepiece in function, except that it covers the upper portion of the face – except it does not need to be replaced after each use. This is especially useful in hot climates when facial exposure to the sun can cause skin irritation.
All of the parts are then placed inside the mouth. The face shield can be removed in order to wash or brush the teeth, and the straps and clasps can be removed to allow access to the nasal passageway. The plastic face mask then needs to be inserted into the nostril. Most straps and clasps are meant to stay in place while inside the nose, but plastic face masks that don’t slip can be placed inside the mouth and secured with Velcro. Once they are inside, the rest of the parts can be placed over the mask and secured.
When all of these parts are inside of the patient, an irrigation tool is used in order to cleanse the nasal cavity of any bacteria or viral particles that might have remained hidden. Most dental practitioners prefer to use these devices over steam fomentation because they do not use hot water as they do for steam fomentation. Hot water opens the nasal passages and exposes the viruses and bacteria that remain hidden inside the crevasse. These airborne viruses and bacteria can cause quite a number of different infections, including flu and the common cold. In addition, they can also spread through air and can even be passed from one patient to another on the floor of the dental clinic.
There are a few different types of facial masks that are available, depending on the kind of spread that has been identified. In general, a full face mask is used when the infection is located in one of the corners of the mouth, such as the bridge of the nose. A nasal mask is used when the spread is located inside the mouth or nasal cavities. Full face masks are often recommended for patients who often suffer from flu or colds.