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FAQ - Dental Unit Waterlines - 2014
 FAQ -  Dental Unit Waterlines -  2014



Is there a requirement on what products can or cannot be used in a self contained water system to prevent biofilm build up?

Ask OSAP would like to reference the 2003 CDC guidelines for infection control in dentistry which states as follows:

Maintenance and Monitoring of Dental Unit Water
DHCP should be trained regarding water quality, biofilmformation, water treatment methods, and appropriate maintenanceprotocols for water delivery systems. Water treatmentand monitoring products require strict adherence to maintenanceprotocols, and noncompliance with treatment regimenshas been associated with persistence of microbial contaminationin treated systems (345). Clinical monitoring of waterquality can ensure that procedures are correctly performed andthat devices are working in accordance with the manufacturer’spreviously validated protocol.

Dentists should consult with the manufacturer of their dentalunit or water delivery system to determine the best method formaintaining acceptable water quality (i.e., <500 CFU/mL) andthe recommended frequency of monitoring. Monitoring of dentalwater quality can be performed by using commercial selfcontainedtest kits or commercial water-testing laboratories.Because methods used to treat dental water systems target theentire biofilm, no rationale exists for routine testing for suchspecific organisms as Legionella or Pseudomonas, except wheninvestigating a suspected waterborne disease outbreak (244). 1

In summary, it is recommended that you consult with the product manual and/or the manufacturer of your dental unit or water delivery system in order to determine which products are recommended for use with your system. It should also be noted that failure to comply with the manufacturer’s instructions for use (IFU) and maintenance protocols could potentially void the product warranty.


1)     Kohn WG, Collins AS, Cleveland JL, Harte JA, Eklund KJ, Malvitz DM, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Guidelines for infection control in dental health-care settings—2003. MMWR Recomm Rep 2003;52(RR-17):1-61.    Accessed on May 21, 2014.


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