The EVADE™ Aerosol Capture System
COVID-19 hit the world and it has affected virtually every aspect of our lives. I hope that you are holding up during these difficult times.
Many are out of work, left suffering and in fear for their future. We are facing difficult challenges as the future unfolds and we have many decisions to make. Some of those decisions are made for us, but we still have choices to make.
One of those choices involves healthcare in general and, in my case, dental care. Many people are still fearful about leaving their homes and venturing out into the potentially dangerous world we are now faced with. However, postponing healthcare can have consequences. Certain medical conditions may continue to cause deterioration in your body and can lead to life-threatening results if not properly managed. It can be a difficult balancing act to weigh the decisions about risk on either side. You might ask, "Do I risk more exposure to an unknown threat so that I can deal with a condition that I already know about?"
Dental care certainly does not rise to the "life or death" standard as do certain medical conditions. However, dental health, particularly health of the gum tissues and managing the bacterial population in your mouth, is an important aspect of whole body health. Other dental conditions such as decay and tooth infections can lead to other complications. Decay will continue to progress until it is removed and the affected tooth is restored, but in more severe cases, an infection or abscess may form. The goal of regular examinations, obtaining diagnostic x-rays and regular professional teeth cleaning is to discover and treat such situations before they become critical or painful.
Unfortunately, many people avoid dental care in normal times. However, these days, even more avoid care for fear of exposure to COVID-19.
With this concern in mind, I have taken many proactive steps in my San Diego dental practice to lessen the potentials for any types of exposure. We maintain strict protocols for screening and social distancing. We do not allow gathering in our reception room, rather we ask our patients to wait in their car until we are ready to escort them to the treatment area. We greet our masked patients one at a time at the front door wearing our masks, review our screening questions, obtain a no touch body temperature. For patient protection during any business transactions, our front desk counter openings are protected from cross contamination with plexiglass barriers.
Front desk counter openings protect cross
contamination with plexiglass barriers.
Following the initial screening, we escort our patients to their disinfected and barriered treatment room. We are very careful to not allow patients to come in contact with one another in the hallways or at the doors. The bathroom is disinfected by our staff after each patient use. Our staff wear appropriate PPE, masks and gloves during procedures.
All of these protocols are designed to create and maintain a safe environment for patients and staff alike. However, I wanted to go a step further and that is why I created the EVADETM System. The following is a story of how it began and what EVADE means for your safety.
Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention
The onset of COVID-19 forced me to close my dental office for 3 months. Initially, unsure of the length of the closure, I decided to dedicate my newfound free time to working on my third book trilogy, which is about two thirds completed.
I put my blogging aside to work on the book, but then I found myself diving into online dental continuing education courses. I realized that I had to prepare to reopen my office in as safe a manner as possible. I got a bit overwhelmed with the details of what was going to be necessary to reopen my dental practice and protect my patients.
Soon, the practice re-opening project and the details dominated my time.
I wanted to find a way to collect, disinfect, filter, and remove potentially contaminated aerosols from my dental office, and specifically, the treatment areas.
I had my HVAC vendor install a positive pressure air system to inject fresh air from outside into the building hallways. The injected air travels through the treatment rooms and is blown back out of the building with ducted fans. This effectively flushes the office with outdoor fresh air, which is turned over about 8 times every hour, taking any lingering, potentially infectious aerosols with it.
However, I didn’t consider this to be enough to create a safe space for my patients and staff. I felt that it was critically important to deal with the problem at the source, in the treatment rooms. However, no available solutions met my criteria.
I decided to invent one, The EVADETM System (Externally Vented Aerosol and Droplet Evacuation). EVADE is a solution specific to protecting my patients … and to keep my dental practice alive.
I spent 10 to 12 hours a day during my 3 month “COVID vacation” working on the "clean air" solution.
With a 3D design program and my 3D printer, I developed, designed, sourced, built, and filed a patent for the EVADETM System. I installed 5 prototypes before reopening my office in June. The EVADETM System quietly vacuums aerosols generated during treatment, disinfects them with UVC and Ozone, passes them through HEPA filtration and then ejects them from the building using a central vacuum system. EVADE helps us maintain a safe environment for patients and staff alike.
The EVADE™ Aerosol Capture Cone
Patient response to the EVADETM System has been awesome. I regularly get comments from patients like this one:
"I have had to visit various places and businesses over the last months since COVID began. Your office is the cleanest and safest place that I have visited. I have told everyone I know about what you have done to make your office a safe place for your patients. I feel very secure that you are doing everything you can to keep me protected." Tom C.
In November 2020 the American Dental Association solicited manuscripts from all members of the dental community to share "how dentistry, in general, managed to deal with, cope with and, ultimately, get through this COVID-19 event." I submitted an article with my experiences which was accepted for publication. The article is due to be featured in late February 2021 on the ADA website, https://www.ada.org/en, under the JADA+ COVID-19 Monograph.
My patent is no longer in process. I just received a letter from the Patent Office. My EVADE™ Patent application has been approved and I will be receiving my patent number shortly! I started the project in April 2020 and I am overwhelmed that I was able to conceive, design, create and prototype in just three months and then refine, manufacture and receive a patent on EVADE in just 10 months.
I was just exchanging e-mails with a colleague, Bob, about the EVADE™ System. His unsolicited comment to me was quite remarkable when he wrote:
"It’s amazing how you could solve such a serious problem in three short months. I know each day couldn’t have felt so short. But what you achieved has lasting benefits for years to come. I think the EVADE™ System should become the dental practice standard going forward. Sterilization will have new meaning in the medical field and the timing of this system could offset a lingering fear that some patients still hold on too. Your patient testimonials say it all. Congratulations."
It is absolutely amazing that I got the patent so quickly! Here is a video that demonstrates how the EVADE™ System works.
For more information, you can contact my office at 619-MySmile (619-697-6453).
Dr Rich Masek