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Bacteria in Dental Water Lines?

Oct 21, 2016

Petri dish

CNN recently reported a story about a dental office in California where bacteria in the water led to the hospitalization of 30 children. All 30 children had baby root canals performed, and the children were infected with the water during the procedure. The bacteria in the water, Mycobacterium Abscessus, is typically a weak bug. Most people’s immune system can clear the body of the bacteria. However, for these children, the bacteria was likely trapped inside the tooth (from the root canal procedure) and proliferated. The California office is currently under investigation, and the water lines in this dental office have been shut off.

While this type of infection from dental water lines is extremely rare, this story highlights our duty as dental professionals to ensure our patients’ safety. All dental offices should monitor the quality of their water to make sure it meets the EPA’s standards for safe drinking water. There are several protocols a dental office can follow in order to meet such standards. Protocols include: flushing the dental lines regularly to eliminate possible microorganisms and stagnant water, using waterline disinfectant properly, and testing the water of each dental unit regularly. In addition to these protocols, our office also keeps a water monitoring log to ensure our patient’s safety.

If you have any further questions about this story, please feel free to contact our office.

© 2014 Dr. Jennifer Fountain, DDS.
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