Dental Handpiece Proper Care and Maintenance
Dental handpieces are delicate instruments that fail prematurely if not properly maintained. The majority of failures happen because people don’t know how to care for them, due to the limited knowledge in this area.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, dental handpieces and other devices that are used on a patient should be cleaned and sterilized between each use. Cleaning instructions depend on your device – follow manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning, lubricating, or sterilizing these items. Handpieces may include high-speed handsets, low speed one’s, electric power units (EPUs), endodontic dental drills and puplsaws, surgical handpieces and retractors blades, implant handpieces and all motors/attachments including reusable prophylaxis angles, nose cones, and contra angles.
Steps to Properly Care for Your Dental Handpieces
Cleaning and Flushing
Every time you use the handpiece, it should be flushed and cleaned with soap. This will prevent bacteria from building up in your equipment.
This is an important step to take for cleaning and maintaining hygiene of all dental tools that come into contact with a patient’s mouth or any surface shared between different patients’ mouth orifices (e.g., saliva).
Air Hole Lubrication
Lubricating your handpiece is important to make sure the air hole in it doesn’t get clogged and that all of its parts are lubricated. To do this, place a few drops into the drive air hole before running for 20 seconds on an installed dental bur so you can eject any excess grease or lube from inside.
Place the handpiece in a sterilizer bag, then process it through an autoclave or chemical vapor sterilizer. Afterward, remove it and allow to cool completely before removing from the device that is performing this service for you.
Handpiece Maintenance Recording
You don’t know what you don’t know—it’s impossible to maintain your handpieces if you have no idea when you last lubricated the turbine or replaced a certain part. Keeping a maintenance log also helps save money, as changing an under-performing turbine can keep hundreds of dollars in labor costs at bay. Another benefit is that regular and timely servicing will help ensure that your dental handpieces are working smoothly for years to come–meaning less hassle for dentists likes you who value their time.