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Slide 85: Saliva Ejectors

Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings—2003

A text description of this slide follows.

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Slide Text

  • Previously suctioned fluids might be retracted into the patient's mouth when a seal is created
  • Do not advise patients to close their lips tightly around the tip of the saliva ejector

Picture: Image of saliva ejectors.

Speaker Notes

Backflow, meaning reverse flow, can occur when there is more negative pressure in the patient's mouth than in the evacuator tubing, for example, when the patient uses the saliva ejector as a straw. When this happens, material from the mouth of a previous patient might remain in the vacuum line of the saliva ejector and be aspirated into the mouth of the next patient being treated.

Although there have been no reports of any adverse health issues, patients should not be instructed to close their lips tightly around the saliva ejector tip during use.

Photo credit: Lt. Col. Jennifer Harte, U.S.A.F. Dental Investigation Service, Great Lakes, IL.

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