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Repair or Replace? How to Know When to Invest in a New Dental Handpiece

 

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.

 

Does The Compressor Have Mildew?

 

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.

 

Is Your Handpiece Getting Rusty?

 

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.

 

Is The Turbine Clogged With Oil?

 

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.

 

Is The Handpiece Causing You Downtime?

 

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.

 

Can You Find Replacement Parts?

 

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.

 

Is Your Handpiece a Pain To Use?

 

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!

at 2:18 PM
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Study: Without Precautions, PPE Use Causes Serious Skin Damage

PPE, short for personal protective equipment, has always been important to dental professionals. It helps us protect ourselves and our patients from the spread of germs and disease. But with the COVID-19 pandemic this year, wearing PPE is more crucial than ever.

 

Healthcare professionals are now the most at-risk group for coronavirus as they work in close contact with patients. The challenges surrounding PPE use, as well as the risk of PPE failure is unfolding before our eyes.

 

As a result, PPE must be used vigilantly by all healthcare professionals, including dentists and dental hygienists.

 

But one side effect of PPE that isn’t often discussed is the severe skin damages it can cause – especially when preventative measures aren’t taken to combat it.

 

Here, we’ll highlight how the use of PPE can result in skin damage, how to minimize skin damage, and how your own dental practice can be proactive in mitigating the risk.

 

Types of Common Skin Damage While Using PPE

 

A new study on medical workers treating COVID-19 patients discovered that 42.8% of staff experienced serious skin damage linked to the use of PPE. These items included masks, goggles, face shields, and protective gowns.

 

The study, published in Advances in Wound Care in June 2020, also concluded that the skin injuries put medical workers at an increased risk of infection of COVID-19 if insufficient prevention and treatment measures were not put in place.

 

The study consisted of 2,732 medical respondents. They were among the first healthcare workers fighting coronavirus in emergency departments, screening clinics, isolation areas, infectious branches, and as well as voluntary staff who wore PPE.

 

According to the study’s findings, 1,844 medical respondents experienced 4,735 skin injuries, equating to 2.6 skin injuries per respondent. Stage 1 injuries were registered by 81.1% of the respondents, 18.3% experienced stage 2, and 0.6% suffered from deep tissue injury.

 

Researchers discovered three main types of skin injuries relating to PPE: device-related pressure injuries, moisture associated skin damage, and skin tear.

 

Various factors increased the risk of skin damage. These include heavy sweating, longer daily wearing time, being male, and using grade 3 instead of grade 2 PPE.

Interestingly, skin injuries were more common in males than females, with 59.7% of men experiencing damage compared to 40.5% of women. Doctors were also more likely to suffer skin damage from PPE than nurses, with 51.9% of doctors experiencing injuries than 41.6% of nurses.

 

Skin injuries from PPE were also more common in the following groups:

  • Those wearing grade 3 PPE compared those wearing grade 2 (88.5% versus 21.0%)
  • Those using PPE longer than four hours than those with daily use time equal to or less than four hours (47.3% versus 18.7%)
  • Those older than 35 than those younger than 35 (46.3% versus 41.2%)
  • Those with considerable sweating than those without considerable sweating (91.3% versus 17.8%)

Avoiding Skin Damage When Using PPE

 

The same study also concluded that the treatment of skin injuries relating to PPE was insufficient.

 

Only 17.7% of respondents applied prophylactic dressings and lotions that protect the skin. Medical staff and managers overlooked skin protection during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, and respondents received no training or education in prevention.

 

To prevent damage to the skin when using PPE, dentists and hygienists are advised to use preventative methods such as prophylactic dressings and lotions to avoid tear and injury. If you so become injured, these wounds must be treated immediately with hydrocolloid dressing, oil, or cream to ensure a quick recovery and to avoid infection when treating patients.

 

Preparing for PPE Skin Injuries During a Pandemic

 

That’s because medical staff and managers overlooked skin protection during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic. As well as this, respondents received no training or education in prevention and didn’t know how to use dressings.

 

Of course, in the height of the pandemic, the risk of skin injury is unlikely to be a priority. But today, as dentists and dental hygienists prepare to reopen, we can and should be vigilant.

 

To reduce the risk of skin injuries and infection in wearing PPE, dental professionals should provide their staff with resources and training in skin protection; and protective items should be chosen and distributed to staff according to guidelines.

at 12:07 PM
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