What is the difference between shocking, purging, and flushing?


Shocking is the process of running a strong chemical (like diluted bleach) into your waterlines with the intention of eliminating biofilm. Shocking resets your dental unit waterlines by creating a bacteria-free environment, which is why it is super important to integrate shocking into your protocol.


Dental professionals practice purging their dental units to get as much water out of the waterlines as possible. When purging, it is best to remove and empty the water bottle from the dental unit and then reattach the empty bottle back on the unit. Now when you run the unit, only air will be pushed through your waterlines and force out any water that may be remaining. The best time to purge your waterlines is typically when there is going to be an extended closure of the office for two weeks or more.


Flushing is pushing water through the dental unit. Dental professionals will want to fill up their water bottle and then attach it to the unit. Once attached, run the water throughout the unit so it starts to come out of your dental unit waterlines. Flushing is a common practice that dental professionals utilize when:

  • Running the unit for the first time in the morning (1-2 minutes)
  • Between seeing different patients (recommend flushing 20-30 seconds)
  • After shocking dental unit waterlines