Janet Heyworth is a full time practice Hygienist and Infection Control Lead at The Dental Practice in Southampton. Janet has been aware of the problem of biofilm contamination for many years and sought a solution which would give her and the practice principal peace-of-mind that water quality levels would consistently fall within the paramenters specified by the guidelines.
“We had previously used a biofilm control product that we added to the water and remained in the lines continuously. However, not only did this cause issues with some of our handpieces, but a number of patients commented on the unpleasant taste of the water. In an effort to resolve the issue, we installed a full reverse osmosis unit and used this water directly into the treatment centre. However, our routine 3-month dip slide tests began to show the presence of bacteria and despite purging the unit with a specific disinfectant the poor dip slide results continued. I knew we needed to look for an alternative solution that was effective in not only removing the biofilm, but which would also help inhibit its re-growth.
We decided to trial Bioclear for three months. It is water based, odourless, alcohol free and pH neutral and comes as a ready to use liquid in single dose bottles, making it very easy to use. Using an ATP based system to test the quality of our input and output water, we quickly found a vast improvement in the quality of our samples.
We now use Bioclear once a week on each of the three chairs at our practice, adding the liquid on a Friday evening before we leave for the weekend and flushing the system through before the first patient on a Monday morning. It is very quick and easy to use; simply run the water through until the system is empty, add the Bioclear and run through to refill the lines and the job is done.
Our use of Bioclear means there is no more unpleasant taste for the patients as the solution does not remain in the tubing and although we do not specifically tell patients about the use of a biofilm remover, its weekly use is documented in the practice’s infection control policy. This is just one example of how compliance with HTM 01-05, despite adding more responsibility into running a dental practice has also provided assurance in terms of patient safety. And in my opinion this is a good thing for everyone concerned.”
The use of biocides is making a significant contribution to the prevention and control of biofilm in the dental practice and any practice not yet routinely using a product, such as Bioclear should consider doing so. If a practice is to maintain water quality at acceptable levels, continued use of a biocide and regular assessments of both input and output water must form an intrinsic part of a practices’ infection control protocols. By providing valuable evidence of compliance, such use and monitoring will satisfy inspectors and give peace-of-mind for those ultimately liable for the well-being of patients and staff.