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Dental Unit Waterlines and Amalgam: Myths and Reality

Dental Unit Waterlines and Amalgam: Myths and Reality

Dental Unit Waterlines and Amalgam: Myths and Reality

Dr. Fiona M. Collins, BDS, MBA, MA
Dr. Fiona M. Collins, BDS, MBA, MA
on behalf of Dental Learning LLC

$19.00 $ 19.00 $ 19.00

$19.00 $ 19.00 $ 19.00

$ 19.00 $ 19.00 $ 19.00
$ 19.00 $ 19.00 $ 19.00
Normal Price: $19.00 $19.00


Launch date: 16 Apr 2018
Expiry Date:

Last updated: 08 May 2018

Reference: 188057

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Dental unit waterlines are a source of potentially pathogenic microorganisms and present a risk for the transmission of microorganisms and disease. Dental unit waterline biofilm has been found to contain microorganisms that include Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Legionella species and Staphylococcus aureus. Until the death of a patient from Legionnaire’s disease in 2012 that was traced to dental treatment, no confirmed cases of transmission and disease as a result of dental unit waterline water output had occurred. Dental unit waterlines must be handled and treated appropriately to prevent the transmission of microorganisms and disease.

Variants of dental amalgam have been developed since the late 1700s Used as a cost-effective, durable and easy-to-use dental restorative, amalgam also poses a risk for mercury pollution. Mercury pollution associated with amalgam use may occur when amalgam is inappropriately handled and disposed of. This can lead to its incineration and the release of mercury into the atmosphere; into landfills from where mercury can leach into waterways or evaporate; and as sludge that also ends up in the soil and evaporating or leaching. Mercury finding its way into waterways ends up becoming part of the food chain and being ingested. The amount of mercury pollution resulting from dental amalgam use is considered to be relatively small compared to other sources. Safe amalgam handling measures include, but are not limited, to the use of amalgam separators to remove amalgam and other solids from evacuation lines, using an amalgam recycler, and avoiding flushing waste amalgam into the water system. Following the ADA Best Practices for amalgam handling reduces the amount of amalgam reaching the environment and thereby reduces mercury pollution.


On completion of this webinar, participants will be able to do the following:
1. List and describe the role of dental waterlines in cross-contamination and the transmission of microorganisms;

2. Describe infection prevention protocols as they relate to waterlines;

3. Review dental amalgam, including related oral and systemic health data; and

4. Describe ‘Best Practices’ for the handling and disposal of dental amalgam.
Dr. Fiona M. Collins, BDS, MBA, MA

Author Information Play Video Bio

Dr. Fiona M. Collins, BDS, MBA, MA
on behalf of Dental Learning LLC

Dr. Collins is a national and international speaker and author, and has presented on dental caries, xerostomia, biofilm, disease prevention, dentifrices, infection control, and tobacco cessation. She has given presentations in North America, Europe, the Pacific Rim and the Middle East. She has also participated as a faculty member at OSAP Boot Camps. Dr. Collins is a member of the American Dental Association and is the ADA representative to AAMI. She is also a member of the American Association for Dental Research, ADA Standards Committee working groups, the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP), and is a Fellow of the Pierre Fauchard Academy. During her career, Fiona has lived and worked in five countries. Dr. Collins graduated as a general dentist from the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and holds an MBA and an MA from Boston University. Dr. Collins is the CE Editor for Dental Learning. She has no commercial interest or relationship with the commercial supporter of this course.

Current Accreditations

This course has been certified by or provided by the following Certified Organization/s:

  • American Dental Association Continuing Education Recognition Program ( ADA CERP)
  • 1.00 Credits
  • Academy of General Dentistry (PACE)
  • 1.00 Hours
  • Dental Board of California (DBC)
  • 1.00 Hours -
    Exam Attempts: 3
    Exam Pass Rate: 50

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