Both high-speed handpieces and low-speed handpieces are frequently used in dental offices and clinics all around the world. The maintenance is very important, to assure the handpieces have a long lifespan and work well with your dental equipment. Here are 10 essential rules in the handpiece maintenance.
- Never place under cool water to cool.
A sudden change in temperature could induce changes in the structure of the handpiece. It’s better to avoid immediate changes in temperature to avert apparition of cracks.
- Do not extend burs out from their seated positions.
Use the handpiece according to the instructions and don’t modify the position of the burs, as it might affect the functionality of the dental equipment. Also, never run a handpiece without the bur.
- Never knock hot handpieces together.
Hot handpieces are very fragile, so never allow your staff to knock them together while their temperature is not appropriate for use. Make sure you’ve instructed well the people in care with the sterilization process to avoid damage to the handpieces.
- Always allow cooling to room temperature before using.
The handpiece should be at room temperature, in order to be used safely for both the dental equipment and the patients, so allow it to cool in normal circumstances (see the rules 1 and 3).
- Never place any handpiece in the ultrasonic unit.
The ultrasonic unit can be used for pre-sterilization for a number of dental spare parts, but it’s not recommended for handpieces. Carefully check out the manufacturer’s instruction in each case, when you want to use the ultra-sonic unit on a dental piece.
- Do not drop handpieces as this can damage the turbine.
The turbine is easily damaged by shocks, so try your best to not drop the handpiece. In case it happened, check the integrity of all the parts before using on patients.
- Never set air pressure above 40 psi.
Respect the recommended pressure, indicated in the instructions from the manufacturer, but never allow it to go over 40 psi.
- Always remove bur and close levers before autoclaving.
Check the dental parts for debris before starting the sterilizing. You should permanently remove the burs from the handpiece and close levers before autoclaving. It is also recommended to use autoclave bags and pouches with indicators to protect handpiece.
- Lube and purge before autoclaving.
To lube and purge, remove bur from handpiece and scrub with an appropriate instrument, using warm (not hot) water – never immerse the handpiece. Scrupulously dry handpiece using gauze, paper towel or air syringe, then lubricate internal surface, using a recommended lubricant. Reinsert bur into handpiece head, connect handpiece to tubing and run for 5 seconds to thoroughly expel debris and excess lubricant.
- Never exceed 275 Fahrenheit degrees (135º C) in the sterilizer.
Dental handpiece manufacturers and most of the dental associations, same as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommend heat sterilization between patient uses, to avoid spreading infections. All handpieces currently in production are considered heat-tolerant or could be retrofitted to allow heat-processing. Autoclaving and chemical vapour sterilization are considered acceptable methods of heat sterilization if the temperature is not higher than 275 Fahrenheit degrees (135º C).