You know how you tell your patients to brush and floss multiple times per day?
The same principle applies to how you should treat your dental handpiece.
Just as brushing and flossing helps to keep teeth and gums healthy between visits, there’s plenty that you can do – whether daily or weekly – to keep your handpiece performing at its best for as long as possible.
The longer you extend the life of your dental handpiece, the better the return on investment. After all, a quality handpiece doesn’t come cheap!
With that said, the quality of the product isn't the only thing that affects its longevity. If you’re not careful, certain mistakes could drastically shorten the lifespan of your handpiece. Not only will you and your colleagues be stuck without one of your most vital pieces of equipment, but your patients could miss out on a quality experience as well!
Keep the following pitfalls in mind while you follow our dental handpiece maintenance checklist.
It might seem like increasing air pressure will enhance your handpiece's performance. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. Once you go past the manufacturers recommended air pressure there are no improvements to the RPMs /Torque. In fact, this could damage the turbine and hinder the equipment’s functionality!
First and foremost, the bur of your handpiece must always be 100% secured before you operate the handpiece. However, you must also ensure that you remove it when you’re autoclaving the handpiece, nosecone, or latch head.
Failing to remove the bur before autoclaving can cause a corrosive reaction with various metallic surfaces, which leads to unnecessary wear and tear.
While we’re on the topic of autoclaving, don’t rush to use your handpiece or its components after you’ve removed it from the autoclave. Instead, before using it, ensure that it’s returned to ambient room temperature.
It is not recommended to cool handpieces under running water or in cold water. Always allow the handpiece to cool naturally, and never use it before it has been allowed to cool!
Don’t let autoclaving stand on its own! Follow proper cleaning and maintenance processes before and after to help ensure optimal function. Remember to clean and flush the handpiece before autoclaving, and lube and flush the equipment afterward.
While there’s no such thing as over-lubricating your handpiece, under-lubricating will definitely give you problems! Daily lubrication is necessary to keep the turbine, air motor, shank and head in good working order.
If cost is a concern, there are affordable handpiece lubricants on the market. Sable Industries has developed an extremely high-viscosity handpiece lubricant that offers cost savings of 20-30% over other top lubricant brands. Sable EZ Lube even comes in the different and proper 'delivery' containers for the varying requirements applicable to different types of equipment!
What goes into your handpiece matters! Just because the cheaper parts ‘fit’ doesn’t mean they’ll do the job as well. Worse, substandard or counterfeit parts can damage the rest of the handpiece ‒ and since they wear out faster than genuine parts, you’ll spend more to replace cheaper parts in the end.
Don’t take the risk. Insist that your handpiece is repaired using compatible, premium-quality replacement parts.
Most handpiece failures aren’t due to a single mistake – rather, they’re the result of a lifetime of poor maintenance. As powerful as it is, your dental handpiece is still a delicate instrument! Maintenance is the key to ensuring that your handpiece doesn’t fail before its time.
While we can’t cover all the ins and outs of maintenance in one article, our dental handpiece maintenance checklist is a great starting point!