Maintaining Dental Unit Waterline Safety

Maintaining Dental Unit Waterline Safety

Posted by Dental Didactics CE on Jul 15th 2022

Dental Waterline Safety an Important Aspect of Infection Control

A major aspect of the mandate to "First, do no harm" is a thorough and effective infection control program to prevent cross-contamination and infections in the dental office. An important aspect of dental infection control protocols is the proper design, installation, maintenance, and testing of the waterlines inside dental units. These dental units are considered Class I medical devices by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and are expected to meet their standards for the delivery of safe water to dental instruments. Elderly, immunocompromised, and pediatric patients are especially vulnerable to potential infections from contaminated dental unit waterlines.

Strategies to Improve Dental Waterline Quality

Many strategies are utilized in dental offices to maintain patient safety and prevent cross-contamination between patients, and assure that safe water is being delivered by dental units. The most commonly employed strategies for maintaining safe water delivery in dental units include:

  • Having separate water source containers (apart from the municipal water supply) to supply water
  • Treat water in the source containers with antimicrobial agents
  • Filter water delivered by dental units to remove potential pathogenic microbes
  • Install anti-retraction valves in water lines to prevent suck-back contamination
  • Run water through system for a minimum of 30 seconds before and after each patient to clear lines
  • Shock treat water source and dental unit lines according to manufacturer standards
  • Replace dental unit waterlines periodically per manufacturer recommendations
  • Utilize only sterile water (from isolated sterile bag sources) for surgical procedures exposing bone
  • Routinely monitor water samples to assure purity

To remain current with CDC and ADA water standards reference our CE course Dental Waterline Safety