Frequently Asked Questions

Water Testing Procedure

Waterlines in functioning dental units have been shown to contain bacterial biofilms up to 50 microns thick, comprised of a heterogeneous population of microorganisms.  Although bacterial biofilms remain fixed to the tubing wall, microbes are continuously sloughed off as the water flows through, causing contamination of the patient treatment water.

The Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP), recommends testing monthly until consecutive months of passing results to verify the effectiveness of your waterline maintenance protocol, and then quarterly. 

With how much still needs to be learned in the industry about waterline maintenance, it’s much more common to have a waterline failure than you might think.

The short answer is simple – shock your waterlines.

But know that ProEdge offers FREE 1-on-1 consultations and support. If you have failed waterline, contact us at 888.843.3343 or and we can help your team develop best practices and improve your results, no matter what protocol you’re using.

We utilize the Heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC) method found in Section 9215 in Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater, 22nd Edition.  The HPC is a procedure for estimating the number of live culturable heterotrophic bacteria in water.  

Heterotrophs are broadly defined as microorganisms that require organic carbon for growth. They include bacteria, yeasts, and molds.

A Colony Forming Unit (CFU) is a single cell, pair, chain, or cluster of organisms.

We use R2A agar, which is a low-nutrient media and is considered best suited to the cultivation of a variety of slow-growing, indigenous water organisms.

Water Consultations

Absolutely; we offer a free consultation after every test!  We have a team of experts that will work together to find a solution for you.  A water consultant will contact you shortly after you receive your results.  We have procedures, product information, pass rates by products, and other helpful hints to get you to clean water.  

Test Sampling & Test Shipping

ProEdge Dental Water Labs

7042 South Revere Parkway, Suite 400

Centennial, CO 80112

Our methods state that analysis should begin as soon as possible after collection to minimize changes in bacterial population.  When analysis cannot begin within 8 hours, sample temperature must stay below 8⁰ C.  The maximum elapsed time between collection and analysis should not exceed 30 hours.  

Yes! Everything you need to send your samples to us is included in our water kits.  The standard kits include an ice pack, an insulated shipping envelope, sample vials, a prepaid FedEx overnight shipping label*, instructions, and a sample submission form.

*the economy kit does not include a prepaid shipping label

Practices may combine water equal samples from every waterline per dental unit into a single vial. While testing every waterline individually is more exact and bacterial contamination can vary widely between lines, combined or pooled samples can be a cost-effective way for a practice to begin testing waterlines quarterly. Our lab recommends testing with combined samples more often than testing every waterline individually less often.

We encourage you to send all sample vials together in the kit.  We do not sell the components (ice pack, insulated shipping mailer, etc.) separately. However, leftover sample vials can be added to any purchased kit, regardless of the size of kit purchased.

Test Results & Reporting

Reports are sent out electronically via e-mail.  We will send the report to whomever is listed on the test submission form, so make sure you include the form with your samples.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Dental Associates (ADA) set the guidelines on whether your water passes.  Any result below 500 CFU/mL passes while any result 500 CFU/mL or greater fails.  

Per method 9215C., samples are incubated for 7 days.  This allows for the best bacterial growth and accurately represents the conditions in your dental unit waterlines.  

Too Numerous to Count (TNTC) is reported when colonies were either too small or too close together to report an actual number.  Our automated colony counter can accurately count to 80,000 CFU/mL.

With how much still needs to be learned in the industry about waterline maintenance, it’s much more common to have a waterline failure than you might think.

The short answer is simple – shock your waterlines.

But know that ProEdge offers FREE 1-on-1 consultations and support. If you have failed waterline, contact us at 888.843.3343 or and we can help your team develop best practices and improve your results, no matter what protocol you’re using.

Contamination during analysis is highly unlikely; tests are conducted in an aseptic environment. We incorporate positive and negative controls throughout the testing process to determine if the contamination of plates, pipets, and room air have occurred.  We also prepare two replicate plates for each sample to verify that our testing methods are consistent and accurate.

Reports are 100% confidential.  We do not send your report to anyone; reports are for you and only for you.  

Questions about BluTube

You are adding an antimicrobial to the water which may alter the taste of the water. This is completely safe and non-toxic. Some patients may be more sensitive to taste than others.

BluTube’s active ingredient is a non-allergenic iodinated resin that may release a slight tint when first installed. We recommend flushing cold tap water through the BluTube cartridge for 2 minutes to help reduce the tint of the water. The tinted water is completely safe and non-toxic.

The iodine is completely safe and non-allergenic. People who are allergic to iodine are allergic to a kind of protein attached to certain forms of it. Iodinated resin, which is in BluTube, DentaPure, and other water treatments, does not have any allergenic properties. Iodinated resin straws are the most popular waterline treatment in the industry and have been used in waterlines treating millions of patients.

Schabelman E., Witting M. The relationship of radiocontrast, iodine, and seafood allergies: a medical myth exposed, J Emerg Med. 2010 Nov;39(5):701-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2009.10.014. Epub 2010 Jan 4.

Water from BluTube is completely safe and non-toxic for patients to swallow.

Yes! BluTube is compliant with the EPA rule for best management practice (BMP) for dental amalgam waste. The pH of BluTube falls between 6 and 8 which is within the EPA BMP acceptable range. For more information refer to the following study:

Absolutely! Our three steps to safe water recommend that you shock before starting any or switching to a daily treatment for your waterlines.

It is imperative that you never shock through your BluTube cartridge. For this reason, we have included a complimentary “dummy straw” which is used to shock through. Dummy straws are reusable.

Any water is compatible with the BluTube cartridge. We recommend cold to room temperature potable water (distilled, tap, spring drinking water, etc.). ProEdge does not recommend the use of heated water as it promotes bacteria growth and depletes the active iodine in the BluTube cartridge.

There are a few different reasons that could be causing a low flow issue (it is usually caused by an air leak from a loose connection along the waterline). Troubleshoot the problem by doing the following:

  • Make sure the water pressure is set to 45psi.
  • Check the connection from the BluTube to the female luer lock (on the uptake tube) and make sure everything is snug.
  • Check the connection from the female luer lock and the uptake tube to make sure the luer lock is snug inside the uptake tube.
  • Check the connection from the uptake tube to the dental unit manifold and make sure everything is snug.
  • Replace the old uptake tube with the one provided if the current uptake tube is hard, cracked, or discolored.
  • Test the BluTube cartridge in another op to see if water flows normally. This will tell you if there is an air leak from a loose connection along the waterline in the “problem” op.

If you are still noticing flow issues please reach out to us: or 888.843.3343 to start the return process.

We recommend storing your 2nd BluTube cartridge in a cool, dry place. Cartridges exposed to sunlight or high heat for extended periods of time can alter the cartridge in a way that results in discoloration or a stronger distinct taste.

Reach out to or 888.843.3343 to work with one of our safe water specialist on how best to address this problem.

Reach out to or 888.843.3343 to get a replacement luer lock sent to you.

Questions about BluTab

BluTab works much like chlorine in your city water – it prevents bacterial slime from attaching and growing on the inside of your clean dental unit waterlines. 

Every time you are going to refill your water bottles, place a new BluTab in your empty bottle (download full BluTab instructions here) and then fill your water bottle with potable water. BluTab will remain effective until the water is expended or up to 28 days.

Use two of the 2-liter tablets or six 750-mL tablets to treat a gallon of dental water. Once mixed, the gallon is good for 28 days and can be used to “top off” the smaller bottles between patients, eliminating an interruption in treatment caused by an empty water bottle –  a real time saver!

NOTE: Only one 2-liter tablet is needed in a 2-liter bottle (or three 750mL tablets can be used in a 2-liter water bottle).

The side of the box cautions “Hazards to Humans and Domestic Animals.” But do not worry: once diluted, BluTab is completely safe to ingest. All EPA approved products list these types of cautionary statements. BluTab is EPA Approved as safe and effective and registered federally in all 50 United States. The instructions for use on the box caution against rubbing the tablet in your eye as this could lead to eye irritation. BluTab also has no ill-effect on equipment or bonding.

BluTab by itself is tasteless and odorless. You can test this by dissolving BluTab in a large (22 oz) glass of water.

However, it is possible that as BluTab effectively maintains lines, it will effectively remove residual mineral deposits or biofilm from the lines. If there is any taste or foam, it is time to shock your waterlines with a stronger disinfectant. Learn how to shock your waterlines here.

BluTab, by itself, will not foam or create foam. To verify, you can add a BluTab to a large glass (22 oz) of water and see it dissolve.

However, if there is foaming or any sort of taste to your water, this may be because BluTab is effectively removing residual mineral deposits and biofilm from the lines. If there is foaming, taste, or visible residue, it is time to shock your waterlines with a stronger disinfectant. Learn how to shock your waterlines here.

In most cases, we recommend using municipal tap water. Municipal tap water passes the CDC guideline for safe water (≤500 CFU/mL) nearly 90% of the time.

Often, it’s the most convenient solution for dental practices and works great with tablets like BluTab.

If a practice continues to see source water failures in their test results, it may be recommended to use distilled water in your bottle system. However, in-office distillers, de-ionizer filter systems, and Reverse Osmosis units (R/Os) are not recommended as they fail routinely (*48% when used as source water for a treated water bottle system & 86% when tested directly out of the system).

*Treating and Monitoring Dental Water by Nancy Dewhirst & John A. Molinari; Compendium 2018; Clinical E-Book Series.

More Questions?

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