Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Disease Transmission in Dental Water

Researchers, microbiologists, dental professionals and organizations have known for decades about potential risks and concerns of disease transmission caused by dental water containing high levels of bacteria and biofilm. As health professionals became more aware of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis/respiratory infections, hepatitis, bacterial endocarditis, legionnaires disease and pseudomonas-related diseases in immune-compromised patients, more CDC recommendations were issued and are now referred to as standard precautions. Still with all these precautions and the ability to measure the bacterial levels, lethal drug-resistant strains continue to spread around the country and are frequently reported in national news. A few months ago a hepatitis B transmission between two patients in one dental office was reported (The Journal of Infectious Diseases 2007; 195:1311- 1314). The route of transmission is still under investigation.

In order to reduce patient risk of disease transmission due to shared dental water, the CDC issued guidelines in December 2003 (see http://www.aquasept.com/, go to The Library, Links and Downloads page and review pages 28, 29, 30, and 46 of the PDF version of the CDC Guidelines). These guidelines specify the use of sterile irrigation fluids during any invasive procedure where tissue penetration is likely to occur. To comply with CDC Guideline, the dental professional can install an AquaSept(TM) Independent Water Delivery System. This system provides for the sterile delivery of irrigation fluids through a sterilized container, sterilized fluid delivery line and the sterilized dental handpiece. This allows the dental professional to provide each patient with separate, sterile dental water and practice the best possible dental water infection control standards for the benefit of the patient and all associates in the dental office.

There is a potential time bomb lurking in current dental office water systems. The current design of all built-in water systems is the bi-directional flow of fluid. While the largest portion of fluid is expelled out the end of the handpiece, friction causes a "passive retraction" of microscopic particles from the patient's mouth, through the dental instrument, up the water line and into the water reservoir. (See the "Biofilm" section of http://www.aquasept.com/). The continued use of the same water line and water reservoir among a group of patients results in cross contamination of the dental water among patients. The AquaSept(TM) Independent Water Delivery System prevents and protects patients from such cross contamination.

To quote a prominent dental professional with years of private practice and dental university experience: "In the 21st Century, the danger of infectious disease is heightened because of 1) the emergence of more dangerous microbes that defy medical treatment and can lead to a fatality, 2) a rise in patients who are immuno-compromised due to other conditions, and are therefore much more susceptible to disease with fatal consequences and 3) a rise in antibiotic-resistant strains." Robert Hasel, D.D.S.

1 comment:

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