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Regulatory Archived Through 2012
FAQ - Regulatory - Archived Through 2012



What is the recommended frequency for water line testing, weekly, monthly, or quarterly?

OSAP would like to refer you directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Infection Control Guidelines for Dental Healthcare Settings. The guidelines state that the dental unit or water delivery system manufacturer should be consulted regarding the frequency of testing/monitoring. You should contact the manufacturer of your dental unit/water delivery system for assistance in determining the correct maintenance protocols and monitoring/testing frequency.

In part, the guidelines state the following:

Maintenance and Monitoring of Dental Unit Water

DHCP should be trained regarding water quality, biofilm formation, water treatment methods, and appropriate maintenance protocols for water delivery systems. Water treatment and monitoring products require strict adherence to maintenance protocols, and noncompliance with treatment regimens has been associated with persistence of microbial contamination in treated system. Clinical monitoring of water quality can ensure that procedures are correctly performed and that devices are working in accordance with the manufacturer's previously validated protocol. (1)

Dentists should consult with the manufacturer of their dental unit or water delivery system to determine the best method for maintaining acceptable water quality (i.e., <500 CFU/mL) and the recommended frequency of monitoring. Monitoring of dental water quality can be performed by using commercial self-contained test kits or commercial water-testing laboratories. Because methods used to treat dental water systems target the entire biofilm, no rationale exists for routine testing for such specific organisms as Legionella or Pseudomonas, except when investigating a suspected waterborne disease outbreak. (1)

The American Dental Association provides a great deal of information on dental unit water that may be viewed at:

In addition, the United States Air Force Dental Evaluation and Consultation Service's

Provides information on dental unit waterlines that may be viewed at:

An article in the Canadian Dental Association Journal, 2000: 66:539-41: Waterborne Biofilms and Dentistry:The Changing Face of Infection Control, byJean Barbeau, PhD, and may be viewed at:

OSAP provides a great deal of information concerning dental unit waterlines that may be viewed at:


1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Infection Control Guidelines for Dental 
Healthcare Settings







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