How to shock dental waterlines

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Instructions to Shock Dental Waterlines

Shocking is a critical step in maintaining your dental unit waterlines. While we don’t have a certified blue check product, we highly recommend using a diluted bleach solution. Here’s everything you need to shock effectively.

Step 1: Gather materials

  • Regular household bleach (check expiration date and concentration)
  • Cold tap water
  • Bucket or sink (never put bleach down suction lines)
  • 5oz. patient cup or measuring cup
  • Standard PPE (gloves, eye protection, etc.)
  • Timer
  • Dummy straw (if currently using a treatment straw)

Step 2: Create the bleach-water solution

  • Turn off the dental unit
  • Detach water bottle from unit
  • Pour bleach and cold water into the bottle using the patient cup (or measuring cup) to create a bleach-water solution (see below)
  • Reattach the water bottle to the unit and turn the unit back on

For 5.25-6.25% sodium hypochlorite – Mix 1 part bleach to 9 parts water
For 7-8.25% sodium hypochlorite – Mix 1 part bleach to 13 parts water

Step 3: Run the bleach-water solution through each waterline.

  • Prior to shocking – remove all parts that can be heat sterilized (i.e. handpieces, couplers, scaler tip, air-water syringe tip, etc.).
  • Run the diluted bleach solution through each waterline until the bleach-water solution is sitting in each line. Use your bucket or sink to collect extra solution while flushing the solution through your lines.

Pro tip: If you are having a hard time recognizing if bleach is within the line, use a bright-colored post-it note (fluorescent pink, purple, or orange) and lightly spray it with the waterline. When the coloring fades from the post-it note then you know the diluted bleach has made it to the end of the line. You can also use this to ensure the bleach is out of the waterlines.

Step 4: Let the solution sit and then flush water through waterlines.

  • Set a timer for 10-15 minutes and leave bleach/water solution in each waterline.
  • After 10-15 minutes, turn the unit off/turn the pressure off, disconnect the water bottle and dump the remaining solution into a bucket or sink.
  • Refill the water bottle with warm water, reconnect, and turn the unit on. Flush water through lines for 2 minutes to help break up and remove biofilm.
  • Lastly, refill the water bottle with cold water and flush through the lines for 1 minute to cool lines.

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