O'DONNELL MJ, BOYLE MA, RUSSELL RJ AND COLEMAN DC, MANAGEMENT OF DENTAL UNIT WATERLINE BIOFILMS IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY, FUTURE MICROBIOLOGY, 6, 10, 2011, 1209 - 1226
FUTURE MICROBIOLOGY 6 10
Dental chair units (DCUs) use water to cool and irrigate DCU-supplied instruments and tooth surfaces and provide rinsewater during dental treatment. A complex network of interconnected plastic dental unit waterlines (DUWLs) supplies this water to these instruments. DUWLs are universally prone to microbial biofilm contamination seeded predominantly from microorganisms in supply water. Consequently, DUWL output water invariably becomes contaminated by high densities of microorganisms, principally Gram-negative environmental bacteria including Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Legionella species, but sometimes contains human-derived pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus. Patients and staff are exposed to microorganisms from DUWL output water and to contaminated aerosols generated by DCU instruments. A wide variety of approaches, many unsuccessful, have been proposed to control DUWL biofilm. More recently, advances in biofilm science, chemical DUWL biofilm treatment agents, DCU design, supply water treatment and development of automated DUWL biofilm control systems have provided effective long-term solutions to DUWL biofilm control.
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