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Dental Waterline Maintenance Protocol – Three Steps to Safe Water

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The Most Effective Dental Waterline Maintenance Protocol

The “3 steps to safe water” are what we recommend following for any dental office. We’ve found that consistently following these three steps leads to the safest, most compliant dental water among hundres of thousands of tests we’ve run in our lab. Let’s dive in:

1. Shock First

Often mistaken as unnecessary, shocking your dental unit waterlines is required for every water treatment protocol to be effective. Shocking utilizes a stronger chemical to completely rid your lines of contaminants and enables daily (or continuous) low-level antimicrobial products to work most effectively.

When should you shock?

  • Before first beginning a treatment protocol or when changing treatment products.
  • Shock regularly (recommended every 90 days to start) and extend if testing reveals less frequent is possible.
  • When your waterline test reveals a contamination level of 200 CFU/mL or more.

2. Treat Daily

Daily, or continuous, waterline treatments are specially formulated to continuously control contamination in dental unit waterlines by reducing and inhibiting the re-growth of bacteria. They are designed to be safe enough for direct patient contact and strong enough to maintain safe waterlines.

How should you use a daily treatment?

  • If using a tablet, like BluTab®, add 1 tablet at every water bottle refill, or if using a cartridge/straw, like BluTube®, install & replace as needed.
  • Follow each treatment product’s instructions carefully to ensure proper use.

Flush your water & air lines for at least 1 minute at the start of each day and 20–30 seconds in between each patient. Be alert to signs that may indicate biofilm formation including musty odor, cloudiness or particulates in the water, and clogging of lines.

3. Test Quarterly

Quarterly clinical monitoring of your water is the only way to ensure that your waterline maintenance protocol is effective and your dental unit water exceeds the standard for safety (≤ 500 CFU/mL). Testing also provides the necessary documentation to protect your practice.

How often should you test?

  • Test your waterlines every month.
  • Once passing results are consistent, test quarterly.

If a line fails during testing, initiate an immediate shock, confirm that maintenance procedures are being followed, and retest as soon as possible. If your test shows microbial counts in the caution range (200 to 500 CFU/mL), shock within one week and continue quarterly testing.

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