Dental unit waterlines — that plastic tubing that carries water to our handpieces, water syringes, and ultrasonic scalers — are notoriously known to harbor bacteria and biofilms. These nasty bugs can put patients at risk for illness if these waterlines are not appropriately treated.
Since 2015 in the United States alone, there have been two serious cases of Legionella pneumophila bacteria — better known as Legionnaires disease — found in dental unit water lines. The first case in Atlanta, Georgia, affected 30 children, and the second case in Anaheim, California, involved at least 70 children. Some of these children were hospitalized with minor ailments, while some had more serious effects such as lost baby teeth and adult teeth, and losing a portion of their jaw bone.
While these types of outbreaks are rare — they do occur. And, that’s why we test our water ever month to confirm our lines are clean with an independent lab that test for bacteria.
We adhere to the CDC’s recommendation that:
All dental units should use systems that treat water to meet drinking water standards (i.e., ≤ 500 CFU/mL of heterotrophic water bacteria).
Knoxville Dentist Office is 100% Safe
We take the following steps to ensure the water at our Knoxville Dentist office is safe:
- Flush all water lines or two full minutes at the beginning of each day
- Flush waterlines for a minimum of 30 seconds between patients
- Purge lines of all water at the end of the week so the water does not become stagnant.
- We regularly test our water every three months to determine if it is <500 CFU/ml, then you need to test it
- Shocking is done quarterly after we have run a test on the lines
Do you have questions about your safety and risk of contamination? Don’t hesitate to ask them at your next appointment, or pick up the phone and give us a call!