Privacy Settings Why Legionella Testing For Dental Practices Is Recommended? - Aquacert
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Legionella bacteria can be found in a variety of environments: hotels, care homes, and hospitals. Dental clinics are certainly no exception. Here are a few reasons why Legionella testing for dental practices is recommended.

What causes Legionnaires’ disease?

Legionnaires’ disease is caused by inhaling droplets of water contaminated with the Legionella bacteria. This type of bacteria can be found in streams, lakes and other similar freshwater environments. As the water passes through pipes and plumbing systems, the bacteria are also carried along. They also become airborne when people turn on their taps. Dormant water can also cause the bacteria to develop and multiply exponentially.

Who can contract the disease?

In some cases, people who get exposed to the bacteria may not get sick. However, certain types of individuals are more susceptible to developing Legionnaires’ disease. These include:

  • The elderly
  • People who smoke or used to smoke
  • Individuals suffering from chronic lung ailments, cancer, liver failure or kidney failure
  • People with weak immune systems

Legionella in the dental industry

Dental clinics are medical institutions. Licensed dentists try to keep all their tools and equipment clean and sterile before being used on the next patient. However, clinics are not exempt from becoming breeding grounds for bacteria. This fact was proven a few years back when a lady required urgent dental treatment.  The lady had poor health which had kept her housebound for several years. In fact the visit to the dentist was her only venture out of the house and lasted just two hours.  Unfortunately within that period she contracted legionnaires disease and died a few weeks alter.  The source of the bacteria was traced back to the dental practice she visited.

How it can develop in clinics

In a dental clinic, bacteria can develop inside the plastic tubing within the waterlines. Unlike hospitals, clinics are rarely open all day every day. Clinics close during the evenings, weekends and long holidays. During this time, the water can settle and remain stagnant, allowing the bacterial colonies to multiply in the thousands. It is good practice for dentists to flush their dental lines between patients, this is in  addition to daily sanitising.

This water goes into the mouths of patients, some of which have open sores or wounds due to dental procedures or surgery.  The water  cooling the drill creates a substantial  aerosol. Since this aerosol is generated within our mouths, we have no option but to inhale it. Dentists and their staff can also contract the bacteria as they use the water while working.

It is recommended that Dentists should have both their domestic water and their dental water lines tested for Legionella on a regular basis. AquaCert offers affordable testing kits that are easy to use. Simply fill the bottle(s) with water from each of the systems (taps or dental water lines) and call AquaCert to have the sample collected. After the sample has been tested and analysed, we will send you the results and certificate via email.