As a busy dentist or dental practice owner, the last thing you want to worry about is your dental unit waterlines. But without the proper waterline treatment processes, biofilm can build up in the tubing delivering water, resulting in patient exposure to high levels of microbial contamination.
So what’s the best method for controlling and monitoring biofilm in your dental practice waterlines? And how can you safeguard your patients and practitioners against biofilm? We take a look…
What causes biofilm growth in dental unit waterlines?
Regular tap water contains small amounts of bacteria and other microorganisms that are invisible to the naked eye. When water enters your dental units, it passes through a complex system of tubing, and some of these organisms will collect to form a biofilm matrix.
Over many days and weeks, this biofilm matrix will become more heavily infused with bacteria and other microorganisms, providing a nutrient-rich environment for fast slime growth. By the time the water exits your handpieces, syringes or ultrasonic scalers, it can contain hundreds of thousands of heterotrophic bacteria in a single millilitre of water!
What’s the best way to manage water quality for dental procedures?
Contaminated water in dental equipment can be minimised by using a range of measures, including water treatments using ICX tablets. At Dental Depot, we recommend following the Maintain, Monitor, Shock approach. It’s particularly important to follow this process after long periods of stagnation during night periods, weekends and vacations.
Step 1. Maintain with A-dec ICX tablets
A-dec ICX water treatment tablets are perfect for daily waterline maintenance. They’re specially formulated to prevent the accumulation of bacteria in your water lines and can also help decrease odour. The best thing about ICX tablets is that they remain active in your waterline system for at least two weeks, protecting your clinic from further contamination and reducing the need for frequent shock treatments.
ICX tablets require no measuring or mixing. You simply add one tablet to an empty dental unit water bottle, fill the bottle with water and then install it on your dental unit. The tablets take two minutes to fully dissolve and help to maintain less than or equal to 10 colony forming units (CFU) per millilitre.
Another added benefit of ICX is that the low concentration of ingredients won’t harm your equipment. You can rest assured knowing that your waterline maintenance processes are not only easy and effective, but also safe for your investment.
Unlike other water treatments that are gaining popularity, ICX delivers the exact dose each and every time. Other systems are just like filters and deteriorate over time reducing their effectiveness.
Step 2. Monitor the water quality
Water quality is arguably one of the most important elements of your dental practice. As such, it’s not only critical to complete regular water treatments, but also to monitor the water quality and regularly complete quantitative tests. It’s important to note that when we say “monitor,” we don’t mean just writing down the numbers in an excel spreadsheet and forgetting about them. We mean noting them down, discussing them with your team and coming up with strategies to improve.
The guidelines for dental unit water quality varies greatly by region and are usually specified in colony forming units per millilitre (CFU/ml). A-dec recommends 200 CFU/ml as an action level.
Step 3. Shock the waterlines
Shock treatments are another effective way to clear bacteria from your dental unit waterlines. A‑dec recommends that you perform a shock treatment on your dental unit waterlines before you first use the system. After the first use, you should shock the waterlines whenever your test results show a bacteria level greater than your water quality action level.
If you want to ensure that your dental waterlines are in top notch condition all the time, get some ICX tablets from Dental Depot today! We also have a wide range of equipment that will assist in other areas of your practice. Head over to our latest catalogues. to browse an array of highly reliable brands.