You might not know it, but your car and your handpiece have something in common. Namely, there comes a point where you must decide whether it’s still worth repairing them.
Sometimes, the decision is easy; other times, it’s a real head-scratcher.
There’s somewhat of a balancing act here. After all, air-driven dental handpieces are a substantial investment for a small dental practice!
So, when is it time to move on from your old, faithful handpiece and invest in a replacement?
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re weighing the decision to replace your dental handpiece.
Draining your Compressor every day ensures water won't buildup inside the compressor. Failing to perform this straightforward task will promote the formation of mildew, which can cause compressor backups.
Your handpiece can only function with dry air, and this buildup of water might render the handpiece unusable. Check your compressor for dirt and mildew by emptying them onto a clean, moist cloth.
Eventually, after years of usage, the mildew might be unconquerable. At this point, it's time to purchase a new and improved model.
By now, you probably know you should never completely submerge your handpiece in water. If you do, there's a chance the equipment won't dry out properly and eventually develop internal rust.
All your handpiece’s moving parts are at risk of rust’s destructive force. A repair is no longer an option when there’s over-rusting. You’ll have no choice but to buy a newer, more expensive model.
Yes, lubrication is 100% crucial in optimizing your handpiece’s function and lengthening its shelf-life. Still, that doesn’t mean you should be careless with how you apply the lubricant!
More specifically, the correct pieces must be lubricated. Each model has its own nuances on this front. You must read the manual to ensure you're adhering to the manufacturer’s specifications.
And don’t forget to run the handpiece after you’ve applied the lubricant. Failing to perform this step can cause oil to build-up in the turbine.
When this does happen, there’s often the potential for a successful repair ‒ but replacement could well be your only choice.
Here’s where the car analogy in the introduction truly comes into play.
Say you're still driving a 1993 Automobile. It might even – sort of – get you from A to B, but it's slow and unpredictable, always holding on for dear life. You need more from your vehicle to garner any real value from it!
Similarly, you and your patients need more from your handpiece than something that “works” but is dull and cumbersomely inefficient.
First and foremost, poorly functioning handpieces are extraordinarily slow. Not only is that inconvenient and uncomfortable for your patients, but it also hurts your bottom line if you can't see as many people throughout a given day.
Once you notice an abundance of downtime and a lack of efficiency with your handpiece, it’s time to consider moving on.
For top brands like Kavo, NSK, Bien Air, Midwest, Scican and Sirona, there’s a wealth of high-quality handpiece replacement parts available for repairs. However, the same cannot be said for all dental handpieces on the market.
Be sure to use only replacement parts made from high-quality materials! Otherwise, it won't be long before you're paying for another repair, or more likely, a full-on handpiece replacement.
Sable Industries carries a complete line-up of premium quality air driven handpiece parts, electric 1:5 speed increaser parts, and a variety of small equipment parts. Contact us for assistance finding the replacement handpiece part that fits your needs.
Clinicians with smaller hands, or who grasp the equipment close to the working end, often struggle with shorter handpieces due to less torque.
Furthermore, handle designs come in varying diameters, surfaces, weights, and balances. Note that diameters are between 6mm to 16mm.
According to recent research, up to 10mm-diameter handles are considered larger. They don’t necessitate much muscle and pinch force to operate efficiently. Anything more substantial in size won’t provide any extra advantage.
There’s a chance your current handpiece doesn’t meet your ergonomic specifications. In this instance, it’s wise to look for a high-performing, ergonomically inclined replacement ‒ for your sake and your patients’!
Your reputation as a dental professional largely hinges upon the tools you use. Give yourself the best opportunity to flourish in your role by ensuring your practice is equipped with a high-performing, well-maintained handpiece!
As a dental professional, your handpiece is one of your single most important tools of the trade. You’d like to keep this trusted instrument performing good-as-new for as long as possible.
Unfortunately, handpiece maintenance isn’t always as simple as the sales brochure makes it out to be. Keeping a handpiece in top shape requires that you follow a strict regimen of cleaning and lubrication. That’s a lot to ask of anyone in a fast-paced, fully-booked dental practice.
Wish there was a way to extend the life of your favourite handpiece and spend less time on maintenance? It could be easier than you think, if you choose your maintenance supplies wisely.
As you know, cleaning and lubrication are the cornerstones of basic handpiece maintenance.
Handpieces must be cleaned after each use (even between sterilizations) to avoid cross-contamination, and daily lubrication is necessary to keep the turbine, air motor, shank and head in good working order.
It is important to follow cleaning with lubrication, as the abrasives found in handpiece cleaners can get into the mechanisms of the handpiece.
Today, many clinics use automatic handpiece maintenance systems to lubricate multiple handpieces simultaneously. However, lubricating a handpiece manually is relatively simple:
Disassemble the handpiece and remove the burr so you can reach its internal components.
Inject lubricant into the air drive port so that it reaches the turbine.
Lubricate both ends of the contra-angle, or remove the cylinder from the prophy angle and lubricate both ends.
Re-assemble the handpiece and operate, head down, for 10-30 seconds (depending on the manufacturer's instructions) without a burr to purge excess lubricant.
Wipe any excess lubricant remaining on the handpiece using a dry gauze pad or paper towel.
Proper lubrication is essential to getting the most life and the best possible performance from any dental handpiece.
Here are a few pointers on choosing a handpiece lubricant that can help you minimize downtime, reduce the frequency of repairs and avoid unnecessary costs while extending your tool’s lifespan.
Lubricate the Handpiece Chuck Separately
The handpiece chuck generally requires separate care and a direct dose of lubricant.
Lubricate Before Sterilization, Not After
A high-quality handpiece lubricant like Sable EZ Lube will not break down in autoclaving temperature or otherwise be affected by the sterilization process. Lubrication prior to autoclaving has also been shown to increase the longevity of air-turbine handpiece bearings.
Avoid Overlubricating Low-Speed Handpieces
Applying too much lubricant to a low-speed motor can saturate it and cause it to become sluggish.
Use a Product That Cleans And Lubricants At Once
This saves you valuable time when it comes to preparing your handpiece for sterilization. We’ve developed Sable EZ Lube to remove dirt and stains from handpiece surfaces while it lubricates.
Don’t Lubricate ‘Lube-Free’ Turbine Bearings
Certain Kavo and Star Dental handpiece turbines are not designed for direct lubrication.
Use a Food-Grade Handpiece Lubricant
We know that a handpiece can discharge lubricant in the direction of the bur for some 40 minutes after lubrication. Using a food-grade synthetic lubricant will ensure that this will not affect your patients.
Never Use Any Non-Dental Lubricant For Your Handpiece
Safety comes first! Non-dental lubricants may not be safe for your patients or good for your handpiece. Sable EZ Lube was developed in conjunction with Aerospace Lubricants Inc. specifically for dental handpieces.
Always Follow the Handpiece Manufacturer’s Instructions
Maintenance standards can vary between different manufacturers, and in different models from the same manufacturer.
Use The Adapter That Corresponds Your Coupling System
This will ensure that you deliver the right amount of lubricant to the deepest recesses of your handpiece. Our Sable EZ Lube comes in 500ml aerosol cans with nozzles available for most handpieces, including contras, straights, heads and low-speed motors.
Don’t Skimp on the Lubricant!
Your handpiece can’t function properly without proper lubrication! If cost is a concern, there are affordable handpiece lubricants on the market. Sable EZ Lube is affordably priced, with cost savings of 20-30% over other top lubricant brands.
Have any questions about our handpiece lubricants? Get in touch with us and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!