This course offers a comprehensive overview of the problem of dental unit waterline (DUWL) contamination. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates drinking water in the public water supply to ensure that the number of water organisms is kept at an acceptable level. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that the water emitted from dental handpieces and air/water syringes be the same quality as drinking water.
Due to the extremely narrow DUWL tubing through which patient treatment water is delivered, and the frequent periods of water stagnation, the inner surfaces of tubing provide a particularly favorable environment for the multiplication of microorganisms. Contact of the oral cavity or other routes of entry with water from a dental unit containing large numbers of microorganisms is incompatible with infection control standard of care and inconsistent with the public’s expectations of modern dentistry.
It is widely accepted that dental unit waterline contamination be controlled to protect dental workers and patients from aerosolized, inhaled, and ingested microbes. Therefore, dental practitioners should have an understanding of the problem and current approaches to improving the quality of the water in dental units.
This basic-level course discusses the complexity of DUWL contamination and the importance of monitoring contamination levels. The methods used to control microbial growth and the limitations associated with current approaches are also explained. Participants learn how to judiciously choose a DUWL disinfectant best suited to their practice needs.
AGD Subject Code: 148
Western Schools designates this activity for 1 continuing education credit.