Myant Inc., world leaders in Textile Computing, have announced a partnership with Dr. Natalie Archer DDS, recognized Canadian dental expert, to collaboratively develop a new line of personal protective equipment designed to address the tremendous risks that dental professionals face as they reopen their practices to serve their communities in need. The types of PPE in development will include both washable textile masks intended for support staff in dental practices as well as washable textile-based respirators that meet NIOSH N95 standards for dental professionals who work in critical proximity to patients.
Dental Professionals Face Tremendous Risk in the Post-COVID Normal
Social distancing is one of the basic ways to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, with health officials advising people to maintain a buffer of 2 meters with others. Governments are progressively reopening the economy and allowing businesses to begin serving their communities again, the challenge of maintaining a 2 meter distance from others will become a potential source of danger for both front-line workers and those whom they serve. This is especially true for people working in the dental industry whose work environment is literally at the potential source of infection: the mouths and noses of their patients. An analysis conducted by Visual Capitalist, leveraging data from the Occupational Information Network, suggests that dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, and dental administrative staff are among the professions and support staff at the highest risk of exposure to coronavirus. Their work requires close proximity / physical contact with others and they are routinely exposed to potential sources of infectious diseases.
The public health risk is magnified when you consider the volume of patients coming in and out of a dental practice. Consider the contact tracing challenge if a single asymptomatic dental hygienist tests positive for COVID-19. That dental hygienist may work in a practice with two dentists, a billing coordinator, a receptionist, and perhaps 3 other dental hygienists who each see 100 patients a week (with each patient coming with a loved one in the waiting room). It is clear that dental professionals will need to be among the most vigilant in our communities when it comes to the adoption of effective PPE in order to protect themselves and society from a potential second-wave of the virus.
A Partnership to Drive Innovation for Dental PPE
Recognizing this challenge Myant Inc., the textile innovators who pivoted to innovation in PPE as a response to COVID-19, has partnered with one of Canada’s preeminent dental experts to design a line of PPE geared specifically to meet the challenges that dentists, other dental professionals, and their staff will face in the Post-COVID normal. Dr. Natalie Archer DDS was the youngest dentist ever elected to serve on the Board of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario and served as the governing body’s Vice President between 2011 and 2012. As a recognized and trusted subject matter expert on dentistry-related topics, she is regularly asked to speak to the public in the Canadian media. Dr. Archer will be working closely with the Myant team, advising on the design and the certification process for a new line of PPE for dental professionals currently under development. Dental professionals can stay current with our developments by joining the Myant PPE Dental Mailing List.
Reflecting on her motivations, Dr. Archer said that “dental professionals feel a tremendous responsibility to get back to serving their communities, but as both members and servants of the community, we must be safe and responsible for both patients and the people that treat them. Like other dental professionals, I am concerned about maintaining levels of PPE. With disposable PPE I feel there will always be a concern of running out, the expense, uncertain quality, not to mention environmental concerns because of all of the waste. Also, there is a real problem with the discomfort that currently available PPE poses for dental professionals who typically work long shifts and whose work is physical. I am excited to be innovating with the team at Myant to address the real world clinical problems that we are facing now in dentistry by producing PPE that is protective, comfortable, and reusable, which will help all of us stay safe and allow us to do our jobs.”
The PPE for dental professionals will be designed and manufactured at Myant’s Toronto-based, 80,000 sqft facility which has the current capacity to produce 340,000 units of PPE a month. Plans are underway to expand that capacity to produce over 1,000,000 units per month as communities across Canada and the United States start looking for ways to re-open in a safe and responsible manner.
“This new development highlights the agility with which Myant is able to operate, rapidly integrating the domain expertise of our partners to unlock the potential behind our core textile design and commercialization capabilities,” said Myant Executive Vice President Ilaria Varoli. “Textiles are everywhere in our daily lives and we look forward to working with partners like Dr. Archer to make life better, easier, and safer for all people.”
Asking Our Textiles to Protect Us in New Ways
The company’s response to COVID-19 reinforces a fundamental belief that is at the core of why Myant exists: textiles have the potential to protect us in ways we never thought possible. While Myant’s current line of PPE features only passive attributes (such as the antiviral and antibacterial properties of copper and silver), the company’s core competency is in textiles that actively sense and react to the human body. The ability to integrate biometric sensing into clothing opens up the possibility of implementing remote patient monitoring in a low barrier of adoption, non-habit changing manner. The ability to remotely triage, assess and manage at risk patients (such as elder care facilities or hospital wards) via textile will allow healthcare (including dental care) to be delivered in a safer, more effective manner in the Post-COVID world. Myant aims to be at the forefront of protecting society by connecting people to care and to each other via textiles that interface with the human body.
“This new development highlights the agility with which Myant is able to operate, rapidly integrating the domain expertise of our partners to unlock the potential behind our core textile design and commercialization capabilities.” Ilaria Varoli, EVP, Myant Inc.
About Dr. Natalie Archer DDS
Dr. Natalie Archer DDS is the founder and CEO of Archer Dental and frequently ranked among the ‘best dentists in Toronto’ in local magazine polls. As a respected authority on dentistry, Archer regularly appears in daytime television programs on CBC, CTV and Global TV Network. In 2006, she became the youngest dentist ever elected to serve on the Board of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario and subsequently became the third elected woman dentist ever to assume the Vice Presidency of the organization. Dr. Archer is passionate about giving back and delivering dental security to her patient community, her profession and abroad. https://www.archerdental.ca
About Myant Inc.
Myant is a textile technology company devoted to the betterment of life for all people in society. Using textiles that can sense and react to the human body and a platform that enables machine learning driven health and performance outcomes, Myant is on a mission to transform everyday life through textile innovation. With an extensive patent portfolio, key exclusive relationships within the textile computing industry, a multidisciplinary team of researchers, engineers, data scientists, fashion designers and knitting specialists, and over 80,000 ft² of manufacturing capacity, Myant is changing the way people across society take care of themselves and one another.