Dental Waterline Protocols & Maintenance

Due to the nature and complex design of dental delivery units, the periodic use of waterline cleaners and antimicrobial agents is extremely important for proper dental waterline care. Even sterile water introduced to dental delivery systems can become contaminated very quickly and exceed CDC and ADA-recommended guidelines for maximum microbiological contaminant levels of 500 CFU/mL.

Regardless of whether dental operatories are plumbed directly to municipal water supply lines or utilize independent bottle systems, and regardless of the presence or absence of any water filtration system that might be installed, the following protocols and guidelines should be observed at all times:

  1. Discharge air and waterlines for a minimum of 20-30 seconds after each patient, as recommended by the CDC and Canadian guidelines. This procedure is intended to flush out patient material that might have entered the handpiece turbine, air or waterlines.
  2. Do not use waterline heaters, as they serve to increase the growth rate of microorganisms that might be present in the lines tremendously.
  3. Never use water from a standard dental delivery system during surgical procedures. Instead, use sterile water or saline delivered by sterile means, such as autoclavable bulb syringes, or autoclavable or disposable sterile tubing.
  4. Monitor water quality throughout the operatory environment at least quarterly by submitting water samples to a laboratory for HPC testing, or by using an in-office testing product like HPC Total Count Sampler from EMD Millipore, to ensure compliance with water-quality standards of <500 CFU/mL, as recommended by the CDC.


Additional Required Maintenance for VistaPure Systems

  1. Change VistaPure filters* on appropriate intervals. It is not typically necessary to change all of the filters at the same time. Consult product manual or online guidelines for filter replacement thresholds and instructions.
  2. Use some type of antimicrobial treatment for waterlines regularly. This could be a periodic treatment (such as VistaTab) or a daily, residual treatment such as a DentaPure filter or tablets such as ICX, BluTab, etc.
  3. Sanitize water storage tank at least annually, or whenever filters are changed. At least once per year the storage tank should be emptied, sanitized and checked for appropriate air pressure pre-charge. Consult product manual or online instructions.

* Use only genuine, OEM replacement filters. Using inferior “knock-off” filters, or following protocols different from those specified by the manufacturer, may result in poor performance and inhibits our ability to provide customer service and warranty support for the system.

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