Microbiological contamination of compressed air used in dentistry: An investigation

M. Conte, R. M. Lynch, M. G. Robson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The purpose of this preliminary investigation was twofold: 1) to examine the possibility of cross-contamination between a dental-evacuation system and the compressed air used in dental operatories and 2) to capture and identify the most common microflora in the compressed-air supply. The investigation used swab, water, and air sampling that was designed to track microorganisms from the evacuation system, through the air of the mechanical room, into the compressed-air system, and back to the patient. Samples taken in the vacuum system, the air space in the mechanical room, and the compressed-air storage tank had significantly higher total concentrations of bacteria than the outside air sampled. Samples of the compressed air returning to the operatory were found to match the outside air sample in total bacteria. It was concluded that the air dryer may have played a significant role in the elimination of microorganisms from the dental compressed-air supply.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-20
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Environmental Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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