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.
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.
Absolutely; we offer a free consolation 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.
The Organization for Safety, Asepsis, and Prevention (OSAP) recommends quarterly testing while some waterline maintenance treatments suggest more frequent testing; please check with the manufacture of your product.
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
We do not recommend collecting a mixed sample (from more than one source). Even when using the same product and protocol, there is a wide variability in results. For example, mixing 4 samples with respective results of 600, 600, 600, and 100 could show up with a passing result of 475. This result is not an accurate representation of the water quality and gives a false confidence in the treatment protocol.
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.
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 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).