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Sterilization in general, and dental unit waterlines (DUWL) in particular, was big news about a dozen years ago. And it was about that time that Dr. Luke Iwata, a general practitioner who also was affiliated with Loma Linda University School of Dentistry at the time, shared his thoughts with a chemical engineer.
Sterilization in general, and dental unit waterlines (DUWL) in particular, was big news about a dozen years ago. And it was about that time that Dr. Luke Iwata, a general practitioner who also was affiliated with Loma Linda University School of Dentistry at the time, shared his thoughts with a chemical engineer. He was hoping to see a product available to dentists that could keep DUWLs clean without common side effects like equipment interference or odd tasting water, problems he had experienced with the then-available products that were mostly iodine-based or chlorhexidine.
That chemical engineer, Sterisil co-founder Brad Downs, then developed a line of water sterilization products that use stabilized silver to keep DUWLs clean and to deliver improved quality in water systems for dental practices.
That’s how the Sterisil Cartridges-along with the Sterisil System for new practices-came about, and Dr. Iwata has been thrilled with his cartridges ever since he began using them around 2000.
What would you say are the Cartridges’ main benefits?
It’s simple. We were using bottles then, and of course with bottles you would have to have your distilled water. This not only does a good job but it’s easy. It’s easy to install and it’s easy to maintain. It automatically shocks your line every time you put a new cartridge on.
If I was a new user building a new office I would use their Sterisil System, but because my water is all connected to my sinks and my bathrooms, I have these systems for my operatories and each one has a cartridge.
The cartridges can last up to 8 months in my busy operatories and longer than a year in those operatories that are not used as heavily.
Why would you encourage other dentists to try Sterisil Cartridges?
It shocks the system and also I don’t have to turn off my water to put these on. If one of these goes down I can just change it because it has a valve in the cartridge. Just unscrew it and screw another one on. I have them in areas where it’s easily accessible so you can choose that.
The cartridge system pretreats the water and it’s the only system EPA registered to provide less than 10 CFU (colony-forming units) per milliliter, a figure much lower than the requirement of less than 500 CFU per milliliter.
It’s doing its job and it’s really the only one. The military and many dental schools use Sterisil systems. I think it’s really the only system out there now that goes beyond meeting the requirements and it’s easy for us as dentists. That’s the key for me. I just want something easy to maintain.