Dental waterline disinfection is fast becoming a staple of respected practices the world over. There’s a lot of ideas out there about what works. Once you’ve implemented a regimen you've got to stick to it. Here are 5 daily habits every office should adopt to get the most out of their disinfection efforts.
1. No Unnecessary Purging
Purging the waterline is a common pitfall of dental offices caught up in the old school way of doing things. The idea was that since water is the medium in which bacteria grow, we remove the water from the equation and you cut off the cycle of growth. The problem with this idea is that bacteria can enter a waterline through the air and contaminate the unit. Water is then reintroduced to the contaminated line and the Colony Forming Units (CFU) counts multiply within minutes. With a residual disinfectant present in the waterline it will remain free and clear of bacteria to a level concurrent with its EPA registered claim. So long as the water is not removed from the equation you have nothing to worry about. Remove the water and you remove the safeguard against bacteria growth. Always consult your EPA label beforehand. Chances are this practice is outlined in detail there if you are using a continuously present residual disinfectant.
2. No Stale Water
Almost every dental office has a chair that is not in regular use. Extended periods of inactivity can allow water to become stagnant in the lines. Over time residual disinfectants can lose their ability to keep bacteria at bay and soon the chair will have to be shocked to bring counts back to a manageable level. To alleviate this problem, you need only run a hand piece for a few seconds to refresh the residual disinfectant in your lines. If you are using tablets its best to make sure that water in the bottle is changed every 14 days. This practice of running water is best performed every other day, especially on Fridays if it’s not in regular use.