How To Maintaining Evacuation Units
Maintaining evacuation units in dental practice can often be time-consuming, taking valuable attention away from other vital functions, such as laboratory work and direct patient care.
When operating correctly, evacuation units are essential for many dental procedures. However, a decrease in guaranteed stable suction volume can lead to stress, inefficiency, and financial losses, either in terms of costly repairs or delayed treatments.It can also expose team members to hazardous waste. For example, research has demonstrated that backflow from low-volume suction lines used for saliva ejectors may contribute to cross-contamination. Although this backflow phenomenon has not been associated with high-volume suction lines and, therefore, does not require these lines to be disinfected after each patient, daily cleaning of high-volume suction tubing is recommended.
Evacuation unit contamination also may be composed of slime-producing bacteria, fungi, and protozoans that colonize and replicate on the interior surfaces of tubing, ultimately accumulating to form biofilms. Microbial biofilms can be found almost anywhere moisture is present, and a suitable solid surface exists on which it can attach.
Because all of this debris collectively accumulates and clogs evacuation unit lines, properly maintaining them is significantly vital to ensuring reliable operation. Traditionally, dental practices have performed daily line cleaning and hand cleaning of traps using non-foaming chemical cleaners, as well as scheduled maintenance. Interestingly, however, conventional chemical evacuation cleaners have been associated with remaining biofilm residue after the lines have been flushed. Over time, this biofilm accumulates to clog the evacuation unit eventually.
Periodic shock treatments also have been advocated to remove accumulated deposits not removed by daily cleaning to ensure further that evacuation units continue to operate efficiently. Additionally, to enhance the cleanup of debris from inside dental tubing, an enzymatic cleaner, such as Empower Dual Enzymatic Detergent by Kerr TotalCare, can also be used.
Containing two proteolytic enzymes for more effective cleaning, the low-foaming EmPower Dual Enzymatic Detergent quickly removes blood, protein, and other proteinaceous debris. The economical concentrated product achieves a neutral pH formula when diluted 1:128 and is less corrosive than distilled water. Overall, EmPower Dual Enzymatic Detergent is easy to use and compatible with instruments.
What’s more, for evacuation units with a mercury amalgam separator installed that requires a neutral pH line cleaner, To maintain and clean dental evacuation units and suction lines, the following protocol is based in part on recommendations from OSAP and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Educate and train practice team members on effective evaluation unit cleaning methods to ensure compliance and minimize risks to equipment and personnel.
- Remain up-to-date on scientific and technological advances in this area to identify improved better approaches as they are introduced.
- Consult with the evacuation unit manufacturer for recommendations about cleaning and disinfecting products that are best for your practice’s specific equipment.
- Hygiene treatment room suction lines should be cleaned daily to remove blood and debris using an evacuation unit cleaner. A disinfectant compatible with the evacuation unit can then be run through the tubing.
- Low-volume suction lines should be disinfected between patients.
- Do not use chlorine-based products when cleaning the suction lines, since chlorine can corrode metal components in the system. Additionally, oxidizers have been shown to contribute to the release of mercury from amalgam particles, leading to water contamination.
- Change disposable suction traps (such as the Evac-u-Trap by Kerr TotalCare) weekly or more often when clogged.
- Because they contain amalgam particles, do not discard used suction traps in the trash. Instead, use a US EPA Certified and Compliant amalgam recycling service that can dispose of the traps, as well as any amalgam waste—including scrap, capsules, and extracted teeth with amalgam.