top of page

Biofilm Solutions

In March 2000​, we began researching the controversy around biofilm in dental unit water systems and the adverse effects to patients and dental operating equipment. Just the defination of biofilm and the fact that it is found in dental unit water lines motovated us to take a closer look at this newest concern of the public.


We are aware of the fact that biofilm contains tens of thousands of living microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, and protozoan's) per milliliter. Even though scientists have not established any link between dental unit water and harm to a patient, the ADA  has established a recommendation that all dental offices take measures to insure that the water exiting from dental instruments contain no more than 200 CFU/mL ( colony forming units per mL). In 2003 the CDC infection control recomendations for dentistry suggested a level of no more than 500 CFU/mL.


Established biofilms in DUWL may exceed 50,000 CFU/ml. Although high CFUs in dental unit water have not been documented as contributors to pathogen transmission, high CFUs in DU water in a healthcare setting may pose a risk to immunocompromised patients.


At present these are the available options for improving dental unit water: 


  • Independent water reservoirs - While this does cut down on the contamination entering the systems, it doesn't remove the biofilm, and one organism doubbles every 20 minutes , 2 to 4, 4 to 8 and so on. In a 12 hour period, high levels of biofilm can develope.


  • Chemical treatment regimens - All water functions must be flushed weekly or even daily and rinsed throughly to avoid patient exposure. Study shows that biofilm is known to develope a resistance to bleach and chemical treatment, and local biohazard controls are required for disposal of bleach. The chemical and labor costs are excessive.


  • Source water treatment systems - If the source system delevers 100% biofilm free water and has the ability to kill microorgasisms as it travels, this is good. These systems have high initial costs and require anual filter changes recommended by the manufactures.


  • Daily draining and air purging regimens - This process does remove the medium that biofilm thrives in, but you must remove all traces of water from all lines at each treatment station. This is very time consumind and vonerable to error.


  • Point-of-use filters - To be effective filters should be mounted 3-4 inches from the instrument being used. this does catch a majority of the biofilm before it reaches the patient. However, the biofilm sludge is still presentin the water system, and frequent replacement of filters is costly.


  • Tablets added to distilled water bottles - Thes are very effective and have proven to be effective in eliminating              biofilm. We caution you to read the MSDS sheet associated with each product. Water treated in this fasion is            considered for rinse only, not to be swollowed and handling requires caution. 



For our tested and proven simple approach to this complicated issue go to our product page and locate Sterisil or click the logo below.




bottom of page