Dental unit water lines pose a unique problem in the dental industry. Splatter from patient’s mouths can contaminate waterlines and, if not properly maintained, can lead to cross contamination, illness, and in rare cases, death. In April 2016, 20 dental patients in Georgia had to be hospitalized due to infection from contaminated dental unit water used during treatment.
There is currently no mandatory water line testing required in the United States for dental offices. The dental offices themselves are relied upon to take the proper measures to protect their patients. In-office tests can be ordered and performed easily, however results are not required to be shared with any regulatory board or posted in office.