In amongst all the talk about stopping the spread of COVID-19, you may have heard on the news in recent weeks about something called ‘AGPs’, in relation to dental treatment.

‘AGP’ stands for ‘aerosol generating procedure’ – this is a common practice in dentistry. However, by their very nature, they generate aerosols, so we’re doing all we can to reduce or prevent their use for the time being, so we can make all dental treatment as safe as possible for our patients and staff.

How are aerosols generated?
When your dentist uses a high-speed instrument, such as a drill, when doing a filling, it creates a lot of spray. The faster the drill, the more spray is generated.

Instruments such as turbines (drills), ultrasonic scalers and air polishers are all designed to remove bits from the surface of the teeth or from the teeth themselves, which become mixed with water and saliva, along with other bacteria and microorganisms that are found naturally within our mouths. Viruses can also be present, and therein lies the problem in regard to the spread of coronavirus.

The aerosol sprays generated can become suspended in the air and fall as minute droplets on nearby surfaces or be inhaled by those close by. This sounds very unpleasant, but rest assured we are doing everything possible to prevent any spread of infection through stringent safety measures.

Reducing aerosols
There are lots of ways to reduce aerosols when treating our patients and following official guidance we will avoid all AGPs except where absolutely necessary.

Current official guidelines require us to wait for up to one hour after any AGP has been performed before seeing the next patient, this enables the surgery to be fully cleaned and decontaminated. AGPs require specific Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to be worn and this applies to all members of the clinical team looking after you. We may look a bit strange, but don’t worry – it’s still us!

Our surgeries are fully decontaminated between patients and you can be sure that every surface and instrument is scrupulously clean. Doors and windows will be open wherever possible to increase ventilation and we continue to screen every patient for their COVID-19 status.

Of course, many routine dental treatments produce little or no aerosols, including check-ups, hand scaling, X-rays, denture fittings and straightforward extractions. If you’re worried about any aspect of your treatment just ask a member of our team who will be happy to reassure you and answer any questions you may have.


For more information about how 543 Dental Centre is working within professional guidelines to ensure our patients’ safety, and what to expect when you come in to visit us, please click here. We really appreciate your co-operation.