Dental offices should use water that meets environmental protection agency regulatory standards for drinking water. Our office uses a tablet system to treat waterlines of biofilm. Biofilm is a thin, slimy film of bacteria that sticks to moist surfaces, such as those inside dental unit waterlines. Biofilm occurs in dental unit waterlines because of the long, small-diameter tubing and low flow rates used in dentistry, the frequent periods of stagnation, and the potential for retraction of oral fluids. As a result, high numbers of common water bacteria can be found in untreated dental unit water systems. Monitoring dental unit water quality can help identify problems in performance or adherence with maintenance protocols and provide documentation of compliance.
Handpieces and other intraoral devices that can be removed from the air and water lines of dental units should be cleaned and heat-sterilized between patients. All handpieces should follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning, lubricating, and sterilizing. The KAVO Quattro care is an automatic handpiece maintenance and purging system.
Our office follows the standard infection control procedures based on guidelines from American Dental Association and the Center for Disease Control. The autoclave is the instrument responsible for the routine sterilization of our dental instruments. At the start of the cycle in the preliminary phase, a pump aspirates the air present in the sterilization chamber. When the boiling temperature is reached, the materials inside the autoclave are left in contact with the steam for the predetermined time period needed to kill off all of the vegetative forms and living spores. Along with the proper sterilization of instruments and materials, weekly sterilizer monitoring with biological strips is an essential part of our in-office infection control program.