Maintaining Your Dental Handpieces
If you have found a handpiece that you love to use and want to make certain that you treat it correctly, or if you are preparing to purchase a handpiece or two and want to better understand how to care for them, this article is for you.
Maintaining your dental handpiece is important if you want to reduce your practice’s expenses and prevent any unnecessary downtime.
Not only that, but an incorrectly maintained handpiece could injure a patient, and what dentist wants to injure a patient? (Well, except for the annoying ones, but in that case, what dentist wants a potential lawsuit?)
In this article we have provided some brief guidelines for correct handpiece maintenance.
Handpiece Maintenance Guidelines
Follow the guidelines below in the order they are listed to correctly maintain your dental handpiece.
Flush and Clean the Handpiece
Flush water through the handpiece for 30 seconds in the operatory to clean out the internal water line. Then clean the exterior of the handpiece using a solution of soap and water. Remember to dry the handpiece thoroughly afterward..
Lubricate the Air Hole
Place a few drops of handpiece lubricant into the drive air hole of the handpiece, and run the handpiece until only clean lubricant comes out of the head. Then continue to run the handpiece to expel any excess lubricant and to evenly distribute the lubricant through the bearings and chuck.
A good way to ensure you have run the handpiece long enough is to install a bur in the chuck and run the handpiece for approximately 20 seconds.
If you are using a low speed or electric attachment, spray the lubricant into the unit from below and install the handpiece attachment on a motor and run it to expel any lubricant.
Clean Fiber Optics
Use alcohol and a Q-tip to remove excess lubricant and other debris from the handpiece’s fiber-optic surfaces.
Sterilize the Handpiece
Place the handpiece in a sterilizer bag, then process it through an autoclave or chemical vapor sterilizer. Afterward, remove the handpiece and allow it to cool completely. Do not remove it from the sterilizer before the drying cycle is complete.
Handpiece Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid
Following are some common handpiece maintenance mistakes that you should remember to avoid.
- clean the handpiece in an ultrasonic cleaner
- lubricate a hole other than the air drive hole
- fail to run the handpiece after lubricating it
- fail to clean the handpiece fiber optics
- fail to properly clean and maintain your autoclave
- leave the bur in the chuck during autoclaving
- remove the handpiece from the autoclave before the drying cycle is complete
Now that you have reviewed how to properly maintain your handpieces, shop our used selection online and find out how much you can save.