Most of the water used in dental units is potable water that must normally meet national or international quality standards. The big challenge is that this standard typically says something about the water that leaves the waterworks, but not the water that reaches the consumer or the dental unit. The water is typically distributed via kilometres of underground pipes, following which it must be distributed via the property’s local pipe system, then ducted through the dental unit and only used here in the treatment and to rinse the mouth.
This entire process permits the possibility of inappropriate pollution, typically of a microbial nature.
Most waterworks are able to supply very high quality water, but no production is 100% safe. Water that is potentially unsafe with respect to microbial contamination, can be supplied by waterworks with excessive levels of bacteria such as Legionella and Pseudomonas or with protozoa such as Giardia or Cryptosporidium.
Pollution can subsequently occur in the waterworks’ distribution system – no such systems are totally sealed. The problem can occur in the pipe systems, the reservoir and the water towers. Pollution of external origin is a constant risk with these systems.
The distribution system in the property or the dental unit is also a risk factor. The water consumption is often small, and there are long periods of stagnation. The water temperature typically rises in periods of stagnation, creating a fertile environment for the growth of biofilm, and not least a risk of a Legionella bloom.