Reducing Aerosols and Splatter for Safer Dentistry with Solea®

Up to 99.9% Reduction in Aerosols & Splatter

Dentists are concerned about the possibility of disease transmission between patients and practitioners, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence suggests that dental aerosols may contain active pathogens, which could infect the dentist and hygienist. Although invisible, small particles of pathogens might be present to a limited extent. Larger droplets or splatters could contain high concentrations of these active agents and will require more suction to get rid of them.

Find out more about Solea® can help dental practices reduce the risk of transmission, the Convergent Dental R&D team designed two structured and controlled studies: a macroscopic and a microscopic. The study results show that Solea promotes safer dentistry by reducing aerosols, splatter and by as much as 99.9% when compared to the traditional drill.

Solea and the Drill: General Device Settings

These studies were done by a dentist at a dental clinic with a high-speed drill. Solea all-tissue laser. During each procedure, all studies used an HVE suction unit.

The Drill

High-speed drills can rotate at speeds of up to 400,000 RPM, using air pressures between 30-40 PSI and water flows of 30-60 Ml/min. This study used a high-speed drill that rotated at 350,000 RPM, 30 PSI air pressure, and 50 ml/min water flow rate. The dentist deemed these settings acceptable and they were in accordance with manufacturer guidelines.


Solea offers a variety of settings that can all be modified by the practitioner. These guidelines were approved by the manufacturer and used for this study: 10 PSI; 8 ml/min Water flow; 50% cutting speed. 1.25mm spot size. These settings were accepted and approved by the dentist.

Splatter Spread and Visualization in Macroscopic Testing

The macroscopical approach was used to visualize the splatter or droplet spread during hard-tissue dental procedures. Extracted human molars were mounted in the normal position inside the mouth to mimic this effect. To clearly view the splatter created, food dye was added to the water reservoirs in both Solea’s and the chair’s system. Each high-speed laser and drill were operated for approximately 10 seconds.

Figure 1: The drill produced splatter up to 45cm away, but Solea only produced detectable splatter within a few millimeters of the mouth. The drill produced 97% more splatter than Solea, according to the study.

Figure 1. Images of the splatter (darker colour) created by High Speed Handpiece/Solea on a sheet above the operatory chair.

Microscopic Testing – Quantification of Splatter Concentration

This study was done to determine the amount of aerosol residue and splatter that is created in the oral cavity. Extracted human molars were again placed in a model of a human head and food dye was added to the water reservoirs in both Solea’s and the chair’s system. Glass slides were placed at different distances to the tooth. Both the drill and the laser were used for cutting in accordance with the clinical settings. To compare the splatter coverage, the slides were examined under a microscope (Figure 2).

ImageJ was used for calculating and comparing the total residue coverage.

Figure 3 shows that Solea produces 98% less splatter when it is 2mm away from the tooth and 99.9% less at 8mm. Solea is exponentially more effective than the drill at reducing splatter when measured further from the tooth.

Dental Splatter Coverage Glass Slides

Figure 2: An example of splatter coverage using glass slides, at 2cm from a tooth.

Quantification of Dental Splatter Coverage Graph

Figure 3: Quantification and distance of splatter coverage from the tooth.


These studies show that Solea promotes safer dentistry by reducing dental aerosols and splatter by as much as 99.9% when compared to traditional handpieces. Solea cuts with no contact and uses 67-83% less water flow than traditional drills.

These findings support recent guidance provided by the ADA, recommending dentists use clinical techniques that “reduce aerosol production as much as possible, as the transmission of COVID-19 seems to occur via droplets and aerosols.”


REFERENCES: 1. Aoki A., Aoki A., Watanabe A., Ishikawa I. Bactericidal effects of the erbium-YAG laser on periodontopathic bacteria. Laser Surg Med 1996,19(2):190-200. 2. Cavalcanti BN. Seraidarian PI. Rode SM Water flow using high-speed handpieces. Quintessence International vol 36 (5) 5, 2005 Miyazaki A. Yamaguchi t. Nishikata J.Okuda K. Suda S.mOrim K. Koboyashi T. Yamazaki K. Yoshikawa E. Yoshie H. Effects on periodontal pockets in chronic periodotitis patients: NdYAG and CO2 laser treatments and ultrasonic scaling J Periodontol 2003.74(2):175-180. 4. Niemz MH Laser Tissue Interaction: Fundamentals & Applications, Springer 2003. 5. Olivi G., Genovese MD. Caprioglio C. Evidence based dentistry for laser paediatric dentistry: A review and outlook. Eur J Paediatr Dent 2009;10(1):29-40. 6. Russell AD, The lethal effects of heat upon bacterial physiology. Sci Prog 2003;86(1-2):115-137.


Reducing Aerosols and Splatter for Safer Dentistry with Solea®

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