Handpieces are some of the most important tools in a dentist’s employ and though designed to last, they can deteriorate prematurely when not maintained properly. Faulty handpieces can reduce your efficiency and make treatment an unpleasant experience for patients.
There are different types of handpieces and all of them have delicate parts that need to be handled with care. To keep these tools functional and in top condition, follow these care tips:
#1. Don’t do DIY maintenance
In case your handpiece malfunctions, don’t try to fix it yourself. Sure, you’ll probably find how-to videos on YouTube, but leave the repairs of your precious handpiece to the pros.
If you try to fix your handpieces yourself, your attempts could worsen the damage. Professional technicians are trained and licensed by handpiece manufacturers themselves, so they are the best people to trust when it comes to repairing and maintaining your tools.
#2. Follow manufacturer suggestions
In the case of air-driven handpieces, high air pressure does not always equate to high performance. Using the wrong air pressure for extended periods could seriously damage the device’s turbine, drastically shortening its overall lifespan. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s specifications regarding the proper air pressure for specific procedures and applications.
#3. Keep the handpiece clean
One patient’s mouth can contain billions of microorganisms, which is why dentists make it a point to sterilize their handpieces and other tools all the time. But germs aren’t the only issues you need to worry about.
If you are lubricating your handpiece with oil, make sure to remove excess lubricant to avoid clogging its bearings. You can do this by attaching the handpiece to the delivery unit tubing and running it for about 20 to 30 seconds or using an air flush station. Excess oil is sometimes discolored — keep on repeating the process until the oil is no longer noticeable.
Prior to sterilizing your handpiece, be sure to wipe it using a piece of cloth and warm water. Use a mild detergent when needed, but never submerge the device in water. Do not use strong cleaners because they may cause unwanted chemical interactions during the sterilization process.
For handpieces that use fiber optics, keep them clean with a cotton swab and alcohol. This will keep the lights adequately bright. Avoid using sharp objects to lift debris, as these may damage the optics.
#4. Lubricate the handpiece
Oiling your handpiece keeps its moving parts in good condition. Avoid over-lubrication to prevent excessive internal residue, but keep applying oil until it becomes visible in the handpiece’s head. Remove excess oil using the process indicated above.
#5. Use the right port
When applying lubricant to an air-driven handpiece, mind which port you’re using. Of the several openings in an air-driven handpiece, only the drive air port leads directly to the turbine. This is where you should apply the lubricant for optimal results.
#6. Never neglect the chuck
The chuck is located at the handpiece’s head and is responsible for holding the bur in place. It is an important part and should be given separate care. Besides cleaning, the chuck also needs to be lubricated at least once a week.
#7. Mind the bur
Do not clean your handpiece with the bur intact. Removing this part allows for a more thorough clean. Before you sterilize the device, make sure all chuck levers are released. This loosens the compression on their springs. The heat from the sterilization process can weaken compressed springs and make them deteriorate fast.
Your dental practice’s IT system is just as important as your handpiece, especially in maintaining the security of your business data and giving your customers a positive experience. Have the IT professionals at Pact-One Solutions manage your network and keep it in top shape. Call us today!