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    Using The Oz and QDfx as water treatment options

    How these two products from Toppen Dental can be used to sanitize a dental practice.

    Infection control is one of the most important aspects of running a successful dental practice, but every practice knows that being successful in this area is largely reliant on how well staff members follow protocol. And even under the best circumstances, the dental office is never 100 percent sterile. Consider dental unit waterlines, which still contain some level of bacteria even just after a cleaning.

    Chemically induced infection control has several weaknesses when it comes to water treatment. The first is that the bacteria isn’t killed immediately, giving it time to multiply. The second is that even if all but 0.01 percent of the bacteria in the line is destroyed, it doesn’t take long for the rest of it to replicate and exceed the 500 CFU/mL limit recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    An additional shortcoming is that chemicals kill free-floating bacteria, but they’re not effective at eliminating biofilm, a slimy film on the inside of water pipes and waterlines that stores and protects bacteria. Biofilm isn’t affected by flushing the waterlines, a daily procedure recommended by the CDC to ensure clean water in dental offices.

    It’s well known that dental unit waterlines are a breeding ground for the very pathogens dental practices are trying to avoid, such as Legionella. Therefore, dental staff must use a combination of chemicals, procedures and protocols to keep patients safe.

    Luckily, there’s an alternative that’s more effective at removing bacteria and viruses from waterlines, simpler to implement, and safer for staff, patients and the environment. It has been utilized in medicine and dentistry in the European Union for years but is only now being introduced in the U.S. It’s called ozone, and it’s part of Toppen Dental’s three-pronged approach to water disinfection in the dental practice.

    Toppen Dental founders Owen Boyd and Al Dube sat down to discuss ozone and quantum disinfection, two technologies they offer to keep dental practice equipment and waterlines sterile and safe.

    The Oz

    Ozone gas is often used in water treatment as a chemical-free method of disinfection. The process, called ozonation, has been used in bottled water treatment since the 1970s. Before that, the shelf life of bottled water was about 90 days, Boyd says. While the dental community continues to rely on chlorine tablets and other chemical treatments for dental unit waterlines, ozone is more effective at combating microorganisms in water.

    The OZToppen Dental uses ozone in one of its marquee products, The Oz. The Oz is a spray bottle that uses an ozone generator to sanitize the water. It’s designed to replace glass cleaners, hard surface cleaners, surface disinfectants, deodorizers and other products.

    The process is simple: Fill the bottle with tap water. Once ozonated, water from The Oz can kill pathogens such as E. coli, Salmonella, and MRSA.

    There are two big benefits to The Oz, according to Boyd and Dube. The first is that it kills bacteria within 30 seconds. The second is that it’s safe to use on any surface, including dental chairs. In fact, in a video posted on Toppen Dental’s website, Boyd sprays water from The Oz directly into his mouth, highlighting just how innocuous ozone is to our health.

    “I always tell people, if you’re using a cleaner, open up a cabinet under your kitchen sink and read the warning labels,” Boyd says. “You probably would not use most of the cleaners you have underneath there.”

    Unlike most cleaners, which contain around 40 to 60 percent isopropyl alcohol, ozone can be used on any surface and provides a deeper clean.

    “Because it’s a gas in water, sort of like CO2 in your beer, that small ozone molecule gets into the little crevices that you have on glass and wood and fiber,” Boyd says. “So, it’s going to sanitize deep down where most of your other large-molecule cleaners strip stuff off the surface and leave bacteria in the crevices. You may have done a great job cleaning your surface, but bacteria are still there, resident.”

    “You can use this spray bottle and spray it on the chair itself and you’ll sanitize it, and the only byproduct is water and oxygen,” Dube adds.

    The Oz is part of a family of ozone products from Toppen Dental, including a faucet and a wall mount for chairside water bottles.

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