How “clean” is the water sprayed in your mouth, coming out of the faucet and handpieces in the dental office? Every day millions of dental patients come to their dental appointments without ever really giving the subject any thought. But in reality, dental waterlines, due to the nature of their construction, can harbor thousands of bacteria and microorganisms that you would not want introduced into your mouth, either in drinking water or as part of a dental appointment. According to the Organization for Safety, Asepsis, and Prevention (OSAP), colony forming units (CFU) of bacteria can rapidly spread, exceeding 1,000,000 CFU/mL within a few days in dental unit waterlines (DUWL). This accumulated bacterial load is commonly referred to as biofilm. If the water in question is left untreated, it can cause some real health problems.

The American Dental Association (ADA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have determined that the safe level for dental waterline bacterial content is less than 500 CFU/ml. Similarly, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also set the limit to less than 500 CFU/mL at 35 degrees Centigrade as safe for drinking water.

In light of these guidelines, Life Dental & Orthodontics uses the best available solution: a source water filtration system (Sterisil Straw) to treat our dental water and reduce the bacterial level down to less than 10 CFU/mL, which by far exceeds the safety requirements.

So when you are at our office, you do not have to worry about what is going into your mouth. Dr Hockel and the whole team at Life Dental & Orthodontics are working hard to ensuring that your dental and orthodontic visits are as safe as possible.

Also key are our top-notch team training with OSHA expert Tom Terry

and ongoing compliance with our infection control SOPs. We take our patients’ safety very seriously!



Please click HERE to view a short video explaining what a visit to our office looks like now.

  • When you schedule your appointment, we will help you take care of the fees by phone in order to avoid interaction at the front desk.
  • When you arrive for your appointment, please stay in your car. Please call our front desk at 925-934-3434, and we’ll inform you when we are ready for you to enter the office.
  • Only the patient that is being treated will be allowed to enter the office. To respect social distancing, we’ve decided that no other family members or friends will be allowed inside.
  • Please bring your own mask and wear it to your appointment. Contra Costa County guidelines for social distancing and wearing masks in businesses continue, so bring the mask you have been using. Due to the world-wide short supply of masks, we are unable to supply them for patients.
  • Your temperature will be taken by staff using a touchless thermometer. If your temp is above 100.4 degrees F, you will be asked to leave and not return for the specified 14-day self-quarantine requirement.
  • A few simple questions assessing your contacts, travel, and well-being will be asked of all persons entering the office. Any person indicating recent exposure to someone with COVID-19 or having signs and symptoms of the same will be asked to leave, and not return for the specified 14-day self-quarantine requirement.
  • Maintain the 6-foot social distancing guidelines when in the office.
  • The tooth-brushing station will be closed. Please brush before your appointment.
  • Patients will rinse with a peroxide mouth rinse for 30 seconds at the chair.
  • Patients will be seated in the treatment areas at appropriate distances apart from one another to maintain social distancing.
  • We ask for understanding while we will try to address all of your treatment needs during your visit. Individuals with multiple broken brackets or complicated needs may not have everything completed during their visit due to strict scheduling times.
  • At the completion of the appointment, the patient will be escorted by a team member to the door. We’ll call you soon thereafter with necessary treatment updates and an opportunity to schedule the next appointment.
  • You’ll also notice other changes made throughout the office. These are to ensure the health and well-being of our patients and our team.


  • We will take the temperatures of every team member, including your doctor, immediately upon their arrival to the office, as well as after lunch. Any team member at 100.4 degrees F or above will go home.
  • Every team member will answer the health questions that our patients are required to answer, and will do so every day. If any answers disqualify the team member, they will be sent home following the same procedures we are asking our patients to follow.

We are so grateful for every one of our patients. You are the life-force of our practice, and this is why we are taking your safety VERY seriously. We ask for your patience and understanding.

To schedule a visit with our team at Life Dental & Orthodontics to experience our patient safety focus firsthand, just call us at 925-478-7776.

Smiles We've Changed