One year ago, it was uncertain as to how we would be returning to work in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. I had spent three months unemployed, absorbing as much education as possible related to what “the new normal” at work might look like.
Upon returning to work, we were challenged with providing dental hygiene care safely. I wanted to avoid the physical pain I’d experienced in the past from the use of traditional HVE during aerosol-producing procedures. Around that time, I stumbled upon the ErgoFinger HVE—a handheld device that fits on the end of an index or middle finger.Initially, I took a suction tip and mouth mirror home and practiced holding it to gain control of the device in my left hand. I liked
The engineering design responsible for the strong suction is based on the Bernoulli principle. This principle states that the faster air travels, the lower the air pressure will be, thus creating a stronger suction force.5 The ErgoFinger is made up of three parts: the tube part with an inner diameter of 11mm, the finger part with a suction canal with a narrower inner diameter of 6mm, and the suction head/nozzle part with a diameter of 11mm. The sophisticated three-part design allows this device to deliver stronger, more efficient suction power than a traditional HVE tip. Once I understood this principle, the result made perfect sense.
The ErgoFinger comes with a lightweight HVE hose, making it easy to hold and move effortlessly during treatment. This allows the wrist to stay in a neutral position, shoulder down and elbow to the side, eliminating upper extremity pain and discomfort and allowing an ergonomically correct working posture throughout my workday. I found relief from the pain I had experienced in my left arm and wrist, and neck tension improved. The ErgoFinger nozzle rotates 360 degrees, and the length can also be adjusted, allowing accurate direct suction power within the working area, capturing splatter and aerosol efficiently. This results in excellent visibility by keeping the working area clear of debris.
The ErgoFinger provides an efficient, ergonomic, and economical means of aerosol control. Many of us sit in the same position and complete our work in a systematic fashion. The ErgoFinger allows for free movement around the patient’s head, helping adjust working posture for the most comfortable position. The pandemic has taught us many things, but perhaps most importantly that it’s okay to practice differently and the best way forward is to be open to change.
- Harrel SK. Clinical insights: Proceed with caution. Dimens Dent Hyg. August 14, 2020. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://dimensionsofdentalhygiene.com/article/proceed-with-caution/
- Harrel SK, Molinari J. Aerosols and splatter in dentistry: a brief review of the literature and infection control implications. J Am Dent Assoc. 2004;135(4):429-437. doi:10.14219/jada.archive.2004.0207
- Harrel SK, Barnes JB, Rivera-Hidalgo F. Reduction of aerosols produced by ultrasonic scalers. J Periodontol. 1996;67(1):28-32. doi:10.1902/jop.19220.127.116.11
- King TB, Muzzin KB, Berry CW, Anders LM. The effectiveness of an aerosol reduction device for ultrasonic scalers. J Periodontol. 1997;68(1):45-49. doi:10.1902/jop.1918.104.22.168
- Bernoulli Principle. ScienceDirect. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/bernoulli-principle