In this modern time, the field of dentistry has advanced at a large scale where we have been bestowed with various medical wonders. These advances range from removing the slightest pain from the gums to building up a whole new crown for teeth. There is no doubt that the mouth’s health is vital to the body’s overall health. A medical wonder that helps dentists ensure that your mouth is free from the extra fluid is the saliva ejector. It is a common tool that provides extraordinary service for dentists. However, to understand the use of a saliva ejector, we must first understand oral evacuation.   

What is Oral Evacuation?

Any clinical practitioner, either dentist or oral hygienist, must ensure that saliva, fluid, and other unpleasant liquid substances do not accumulate in your mouth while trying to make your dental operation as safe and painless as possible. Excessive moisture accumulation in the mouth is a typical occurrence during dental procedures and the removal of this accumulation must be done correctly so that the patient’s health is not affected.

To eliminate, unnecessary fluid and debris from a patient’s mouth is known as oral evacuation. Every dental operation requires the use of an oral evacuator.

Oral evacuation will be complete in two ways: limited-area rinsing and full-mouth rinsing.

  • Limited-Area Rinsing

The limited-area rinsing procedure is employed when a dentist stops during a patient’s dental operation and takes a pause for a quick evaluation of their progress. This rinse is done in a way so as not to slow down the dental treatment.

  • Full-Mouth Rinsing

When the patient’s entire mouth must be rinsed, full-mouth rinsing is employed. After a lengthy restorative operation, full-mouth rinsing is a mandatory action for any dentist.

Types of Oral Evacuation

Saliva ejectors and high-volume evacuators (HVE) are the two types of oral evacuation systems. This article focuses on the saliva ejector only. It covers the definition of “saliva ejector”, the differences from the HVE, and the risks involved in its usage.

What is a Saliva Ejector?

A saliva ejector is a small tubular device that uses suction to remove saliva, blood, and debris from a dental patient’s mouth, allowing the operation area to remain clean. A saliva ejector is a tiny tube with a limited capacity to suck saliva from the mouth during a microsurgical oral surgery. A dentist may use the saliva ejector constantly or at intervals during a procedure to ensure that the mouth is clean of debris, saliva, or blood to execute their work effectively.

How is a Saliva Ejector Different from a High-Volume Evacuator (HVE)?


High Volume Evacuators (HVE) are employed during techniques like crown preparation and extractions, and to help reduce the splatter and spray during dental hygiene procedures. Saliva ejectors remove saliva and pooled water during a typical or critical medical procedure.

Dealing with Aerosol Dispersal

Saliva ejectors are beneficial during normal dental operations, but they lack the force needed to prevent aerosol dispersal. As aerosols can persist in the air and spread throughout the dentist’s office, they pose a threat to all employees even after the patient has departed. Using a high-volume evacuator minimizes the chance of these aerosols splattering out of the patient’s mouth considerably.

Additional Assistant for HVE

It must be noted that the dentist or dental hygienist must always utilize the HVE  with their free hand, or an additional assistant must carry the HVE for it to function properly.

How Dental Saliva Ejectors Put Your Health at Risk?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, saliva, blood, and other potentially infectious material (OPIM) from a prior patient can occasionally be found in the vacuum line of the saliva ejector. If the saliva ejector is misused, it might be inhaled into your mouth. Studies have found the backflow of germs released from saliva ejectors to cause cross-contamination between patients. According to PubMed research, most bacteria recovered from backflow samples were staphylococci, micrococci, and non-fermenting Gram-negative rods. Backflow fluids also contained infectious pathogens such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus.

How Does Backflow Happen While Applying a Saliva Ejector?

When utilizing a saliva ejector to extract oral fluids, a dentist should warn his or her patients not to clamp their mouth tightly around the ejector because it induces backflow. 

Therefore, the suction tube connected to the saliva ejector should be placed underneath the patient’s head. Finally, a saliva ejector should never be used with a high-volume suction machine. To reduce backflow while using a saliva ejector, follow precise and straightforward instructions given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here are six steps you may take to avoid backflow:

  1. Never close your lips around the saliva ejector to create a vacuum.
  2. Sucking on the saliva ejector is never a good idea.
  3. Check with your dentist to see whether they employ a backflow prevention system.
  4. Inquire your dentist about how often the suction lines are washed. (Ideally, it should be done after each patient.)
  5. Inquire your dentist about single-use evacuation solutions.
  6. Tell your dentist how much you appreciate their attention to equipment cleaning.


According to different studies, the danger of cross-contamination owing to backflow is considerably low. Still, infection prevention should always be a top concern. Disposable and single-use evacuation solutions are offered to reduce the danger of patient-to-patient infection.

So, remember the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards and be flexible—within reason—during your next hygiene reminder or patient procedure with any oral hygienist or dentist in Canada. Visit Penguin Health to learn more about saliva ejectors and other dental industry products. Penguin Health is committed to providing you with the most suitable infection control methods. We want you to join us by sharing this information with your family and friends to help safeguard their health.

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