Nano-Sized Aerosol Classification, Collection and Analysis—Method Development Using Dental Composite Materials
This article presents a methodical approach for generating, collecting, and analyzing nano-size (1–100 nm) aerosol from abraded dental composite materials. Existing aerosol sampling instruments were combined with a custom-made sampling chamber to create and sample a fresh, steady-state aerosol size distribution before significant Brownian coagulation. Morphological, size, and compositional information was obtained by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM).
To create samples sizes suitable for TEM analysis, aerosol concentrations in the test chamber had to be much higher than one would typically expect in a dental office, and therefore, these results do not represent patient or dental personnel exposures. Results show that nano-size aerosol was produced by the dental drill alone, with and without cooling water drip, prior to abrasion of dental composite. During abrasion, aerosol generation seemed independent of the percent filler load of the restorative material and the operator who generated the test aerosol. TEM investigation showed that “chunks” of filler and resin were generated in the nano-size range; however, free nano-size filler particles were not observed. The majority of observed particles consisted of oil droplets, ash, and graphitic structures.