danger from the vapors, direct contact with many materials, such as etchant acids, radiographic solutions, endodontic materials, or bleaching agents can cause chemical burns of the skin or eyes.
Proper storage of chemicals is critical for safety. The type of container and cabinet, security, and proximity to other chemicals, materials, heat, or open flame are areas that need consideration and control.
Proper ventilation can eliminate hazards associated with most gases and chemicals. Instructions must be written for the safe use, storage, clean up, and disposal of hazardous or contaminated items. Storage rooms must be properly furnished and maintained. Personnel protective equipment, such as a mask, shields, rubber gloves, rubber or plastic aprons, eyewear and eyewash stations must be available. Next we will discuss some of the specific chemicals used in dentistry and their precautions.
Examples of organic chemicals include alcohols, ketones, esters, solvents, and monomers, such as methyl methacrylate. When using these chemicals, you should avoid skin contact and excessive inhalation of vapors. Always work in a well-ventilated area with these types of chemicals. When not in use, keep containers tightly closed and stored on flat, sturdy surfaces. After each use, clean the outside surfaces of the containers to prevent residual material from contacting the next user.
These chemicals are used to process radiographs. When handling these chemicals, always work in well-ventilated areas, and wear protective eyewear, plastic apron, and rubber gloves to avoid skin contact. When mixing the solution, minimize your exposure to the dry powder. If spills of these chemicals occur, clean them up at once. If you should come in direct contact with these chemicals, wash the chemicals off with large amounts of water and a pH-balanced soap. Store radiographic solutions and chemicals in tightly covered containers in a cool, dark place.
These solutions and gels are used for acid etch techniques. When using or handling these products, always wear protective eyewear and rubber gloves to avoid skin contact. Always handle acid-soaked items with forceps or gloves. If spills occur, use a commercial acid spill kit. in the event of eye or skin contact, rinse the area with large amounts of running water.
Many items used in dentistry are flammable. Solvents such as acetone and alcohol are examples. When using flammable liquids, always have adequate ventilation, never use where sparks or flames are present, and have a fire extinguisher available. You must store flammable liquids and bulk quantities in tightly covered containers in an approved flammable storage locker.
These products, which include dental plaster and stone, are considered hazards because of their powder form and of the dust particles created when they are in use. When handling the powder form or trimming cast, use protective eyewear, a mask, and work in areas with an exhaust system. It is important to minimize your exposure to the powder during handling.
Mercury, which vaporizes at room temperature, is a significant health hazard if a sufficient amount is ingested, absorbed through the skin, or inhaled. The potential for personnel exposure to elemental mercury vapor has been greatly reduced by the use of pre-encapsulated amalgam.
Because of the health hazard potential of mercury, control procedures for the handling and disposal of amalgam, or mercury-contaminated items are mandatory.
Dental amalgam is an inter-metallic compound comprised of various proportions of silver, copper, tin, and zinc alloy mixed with pure mercury. This mixture of metals forms a compound that is stable both 11-2