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Best Material for Dental Face Masks

What is the Best Material for Dental Face Masks?

Dentists and hygienists are constantly at risk of exposure to pathogens given the close quarters they work in with their patients. But it’s not just you and your team that need protection - your patients do, too. 

Face masks keep everyone safe from spreading germs, and they’re more important than ever in a post-pandemic reality. But what is the best material for dental face masks given all the various options at your disposal? We’re here to help you find out.

We’ll compare polypropylene (non-woven), cotton, and polyester to see which offers better protection, filtration efficiency, comfort, durability, and value for the money. You’ll have a clear understanding of which is right for you by the time you finish reading along below.

But if you are in a time crunch (as most dental professionals are!) and want to skip to the good part, you can find the highest-quality non-woven dental face masks right here at My DDS Supply. 

You have access to a range of styles, materials, and sizes all backed by a commitment to quality and world-class customer service every step of the way. Find out firsthand what has made our online storefront the #1 choice for all your dental needs!

The Role of Face Masks in Dental Practices

Face masks ensure the safety and hygiene of both dental professionals and their patients by acting as a barrier to prevent the transmission of airborne pathogens and minimizing the risk of infection. 

This is non-negotiable in a dental setting where practitioners are exposed to saliva, blood, and other bodily fluids that can carry infectious agents. It was necessary before COVID-19 changed the world forever - it’s even more important today.

Moreover, face masks help contain the spread of droplets and aerosols generated during many dental procedures, such as drilling, scaling, or using ultrasonic devices. 

These activities can aerosolize saliva and microorganisms, creating a potential health risk if not adequately controlled. Dentists and dental hygienists can reduce the risk of inhaling these particles by wearing a mask, thus protecting their respiratory health.

Beyond their health and safety functions, face masks also contribute to a professional and trustworthy practice environment. They show your commitment to patient care and rigorous hygiene standards, reassuring patients and enhancing their confidence in the quality of care they are receiving.

That being said, not all face masks are created equal. So, let’s unpack some of the best materials for dental face masks below to help you source smartly for your practice!

Overview of Common Face Mask Materials

Just as with the different types of dental gloves, the different types of dental burs, and the different types of suction in dentistry, there are so many options at your disposal when it comes to face mask materials. We’ll just look at the three most common today.

Polypropylene (Non-Woven)

Polypropylene is the staple fabric for the majority of disposable surgical masks, chosen primarily for its filterability. This non-woven material effectively traps airborne particles, preventing them from being inhaled or exhaled. 

Polypropylene is also lightweight and breathable, keeping the wearer comfortable during long shifts in the dental practice. It does not absorb moisture either, which helps maintain the mask's integrity during procedures involving fluids.


Cotton masks are the most popular choice for those looking for reusable options. Known for its comfort and breathability, cotton can be gentler on the skin, an important consideration for dental professionals who wear masks for long periods. 

However, cotton’s filtration efficiency varies greatly depending on the weave density and the number of layers used. While these masks are environmentally friendly due to their reusability, they generally require additional filters to reach the protective levels of medical-grade masks.


Polyester adds durability and resistance to moisture in face masks when used in combination with other materials. This synthetic fabric is less absorbent than cotton, which helps prevent the passage of droplets while maintaining a light and breathable fit. 

Masks made with polyester blends are also more likely to retain their shape and effectiveness over multiple washes, making them a practical component in reusable masks. 

What is the Best Material for Dental Face Masks?

Now, which of these three choices is the best material for dental face masks? Our opinion is that polypropylene is the go-to choice for disposal face masks in the dental practice - and we’ll show you why below.

Filtration Efficiency

The primary function of any face mask, but especially in a dental setting, is to filter out potentially harmful particles and fluids. Filtration efficiency speaks to the level of protection a mask offers and should be the primary determinant of which material for dental face masks is best.

Polypropylene, as we mentioned earlier, offers high filtration efficiency due to its tight non-woven fabric structure. It can trap particles and microorganisms effectively, making it highly suitable for environments exposed to aerosols and splatters common in dental procedures. 

While cotton and polyester might provide adequate protection for lower-risk scenarios, they generally do not match the filtration capabilities of polypropylene without additional layers or treatments.


There’s a fine line between filtering out harmful particles and not letting oxygen in for the wearer, which is why breathability is just as important as filtration. A mask that allows for easy airflow improves comfort and reduces the feeling of claustrophobia that some wearers may experience. 

Polyester offers a good balance between breathability and moisture resistance, preventing droplets from passing through while allowing air to circulate. 

Cotton, known for its natural breathability, is also a popular choice but may require multiple layers to enhance its protective qualities, which can compromise breathability.

Polypropylene masks are specifically designed to offer the best of both worlds between filtration and breathability. This synthetic material is structured in a way that allows air to pass through while still acting as an effective barrier against fluids and particulate matter.

Fit and Comfort

A well-fitting mask will cover the nose, mouth, and chin snugly without gaps. Elasticity in the material, such as that found in polypropylene and polyester blends, can provide a better fit and adapt to different face shapes. 

Cotton, while comfortable against the skin, often requires careful tailoring and the addition of features like adjustable straps or nose wires to improve fit. This material is softer on the skin but is still regarded as less comfortable given its rigid nature.

Durability and Reusability

It’s fair to focus on sustainability in your practice and think about how much use you get out of each mask you wear. 

Polyester and cotton are not only durable but can also be re-used, which can be economically and environmentally beneficial. Masks made from these materials can withstand washes, making them a practical choice for daily wear. 

However, reusable masks must be properly cleaned and maintained to ensure they remain effective. The truth is, even with a good cleaning process, reusing masks in dental settings is not safe or realistic. 

Polypropylene, while not typically reusable, is still very durable during single-use applications, which is often necessary for the highest levels of hygiene.

Cost Considerations

While cost should be taken with a grain of salt as you typically get what you pay for, we do recognize that every practice has a budget to stay within. So, which material offers the best value for the money?

Polypropylene offers the best value for single-use requirements due to its low cost and high efficiency in bulk purchases. Cotton and polyester, though initially more costly, may reduce long-term expenses with their reusability and durability. 

Consider the specific needs of your practice. Polypropylene is ideal for high-volume clinics requiring disposable options, while cotton and polyester might be more economical for practices emphasizing sustainability and fewer mask changes.

So, Which Face Mask Material is Best for Dentists?

You’re probably already starting to see which face mask material is best for dentists. But if not, allow us to make it crystal clear - polypropylene is generally the best choice for most dental procedures due to its superior protective properties against fluids and microorganisms. 

It strikes the best balance between high filtration efficiency, comfort, and fit. While cotton or polyester masks might suffice for non-invasive or administrative tasks within a dental office, they fall short in terms of protection against biohazards and other harmful particulates.

Making the right choice will ensure both safety and comfort for the dental team and their patients, maintaining a high standard of care and infection control in the practice. 

So, now that you know which is the best material for dental face masks, it’s time to stock up at My DDS Supply - your factory-direct eBay store for all things dentistry!

Protect Your Patients and Yourself With the Best Dental Face Masks at My DDS Supply!

My DDS Supply has transformed the dental supply sourcing game for the better, making it quicker and easy to order the essential supplies that keep your practice running smoothly.

You gain access to the best products from trusted manufacturers at competitive prices, all backed by an exceptional customer experience where you can order bulk supplies in just a few clicks.

Our face mask selection in particular features a wide variety of styles to choose from, all carefully crafted from the best material for dental face masks. 

Choose from ATSM Level 1, 2, or 3 masks depending on your protection needs, and find a range of colors to add some personality and character to your practice. You can find quantities ranging from as few as 50 to as many as 2,000.

Each mask is individually packed for hygienic storage and easy distribution. Our 4-ply masks guard against airborne particles, fluids, and other contaminants you’re trying to stay safe against. They’re also supremely comfortable for all-day wear.

You can also count on us for everything else your practice needs, from dental gloves to dental gauze, dental bibs, dental putty, dental alginate material, dental syringes, dental tray covers, and everything in between.

So, change the way you approach sourcing for the better and experience the most seamless process possible at My DDS Supply. It’s time to stop stressing about where you’ll get reliable, quality supplies to perform your best and give your patients the care they deserve!

Wrapping Up Our Guide to the Best Material for Dental Face Masks

As we wrap up our guide to the best material for dental face masks it’s apparent that one stands apart from the rest, and that’s polypropylene. 

While cotton and polyester offer reusable benefits for practices prioritizing sustainability and comfort, they fall short in balancing filtration efficiency, comfort, and cost.

Learn more about dentistry in our blog with resources like what is dental putty, how long does dental cement last, alginate impression errors, dental suctioning techniques, or how to soften dental putty

At this point, though, it’s time to protect yourself, your team, and your patients by ordering the best face masks for dentists online at My DDS Supply. With options tailored to meet every dental practice's needs, the top tier protection you need is a few clicks away!

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