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5/31/2018 » 6/3/2018
2018 OSAP Annual Conference

FAQ - Dental Unit Waterline - 2014
 FAQ -  Dental Unit Waterline -  2014



Can you tell me or send a note through Ask OSAP as to which is the best waterline cleaning product.  

In this case, 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, 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 systems (345). 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.

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 (244). 1


VIII. Dental Unit Waterlines, Biofilm, and Water Quality A. General Recommendations
1. Use water that meets EPA regulatory standards for drinking water (i.e., <500 CFU/mL of heterotrophic water bacteria) for routine dental treatment output water (IB, IC) (341,342).
2. Consult with the dental unit manufacturer for appropriate methods and equipment to maintain the recommended quality of dental water (II) (339).
3. Follow recommendations for monitoring water quality provided by the manufacturer of the unit or waterline treatment product (II).
4. Discharge water and air for a minimum of 20– 30 seconds after each patient, from any device connected to the dental water system that enters the patient’s mouth (e.g., handpieces, ultrasonic scalers, and air/water syringes) (II) (2,311,344).
5. Consult with the dental unit manufacturer on the need for periodic maintenance of antiretraction mechanisms (IB) (2,311). 1

Additionally, the American Dental Association in its publication Dental Unit Water Quality states:

 2. Identify products that fit your needs and are compatible with your dental unit (contact the dental unit manufacturer). Some cleaning agents, like bleach, can corrode parts of the dental unit. 2

It is recommended that you consult with the manufacturer’s written instruction manual and/or contact the manufacturer of your dental unit in order to determine which waterline cleaning products are appropriate and compatible with the dental unit. It is important to comply with manufacturer instructions for use (IFU) and protocols so as to not invalidate the dental unit warranty. Ask OSAP does not review, evaluate, certify, recommend or endorse products. Ask OSAP also does not provide technical support for specific products. If you have further questions about procedures and specific products it is recommended that you contact the manufacturer of your dental unit.


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 February 18, 2014.

2)     American Dental Association. Dental Unit Water Quality.   Accessed on February 18, 2014.





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