Dental unit waterlines are prone to the development of biofilm. This is an accumulated coating of various types of microorganisms. Dental line tubing connects various types of instrumentation that you utilize in your practice. Examples include air syringes, water syringes, ultrasonic scalers, and high-speed dental handpieces. In order to ensure the delivery of high-quality water during patient procedures in your practice, dental line cleaner use and maintenance is required.
If microorganisms are permitted to colonize within dental lines, it could detrimentally impact the health of those that are immunocompromised and/or elderly. Microbial contamination may include protozoans, fungi, and bacteria – all of which could result in infection.
Improving Water Quality
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the quality of the water utilized in non-surgical-based procedures within a dental practice should measure <500 CFU/ml. This number is derived from that which the Environmental Protection Agency deems an appropriate measurement for drinkable water.
To ensure this measurement consistently throughout your practice, the water lines must be maintained on a regular basis. This is made possible through water monitoring, water treatments, and the use of dental line cleaner products. In addition to this, filtration and valves that are anti-retraction in nature may also be utilized.
Ensuring the Sterility of Surgical Procedures
During procedures that are surgical in nature, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have set the standard of using sterile water and/or sterile saline sources. Procedures that are considered to be surgical in nature are those that involve tissue incisions, tissue excisions, and tissue reflection. In other words, when any type of tissue that is considered to be part of a sterile area is exposed, sterility fluid sources must be utilized to ensure patient safety.
Today, there are many dental line cleaner products that ensure high levels of sterility for dental practices. Additionally, special delivery devices such as disposable products for single-use and the bulb syringes that are classified as being “sterile” must be utilized because the traditional path of the water through tubing cannot be 100% sterilized.
Monitoring the Water Quality in Your Practice
As a dental practitioner, it is imperative that you regularly test the water that is emitted through your waterlines. This testing is also a critical part of your regular maintenance schedule. Numerous products are now available to dental practitioners that are capable of accurately estimating the amounts of free-floating bacteria and other microbial agents that are being dispersed within the water. Not only are there office test kits, but, you may also mail off a sample of water from your dental lines to determine its level of contamination, if any.
Regular maintenance of dental handpieces, other instruments, and the use of dental line cleaner products is essential to the preservation of your equipment and the safety of your patients.