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10 Mistakes Practitioners Make When Maintaining Dental Handpieces That Negatively Impact the Life of the Device

Dental handpieces are an essential tool within a dental practice. These tools are fundamental in the daily routine. If properly maintained, they enhance the practice. If improperly maintained, they can detrimentally affect the practice. These dental devices are used to remove decay, prepare teeth for fillings, polish those fillings, alter prostheses, and other tasks that are related to cosmetic dentistry.

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In this guide, we will outline the 10 most common mistakes made by dental practitioners that will negatively impact the overall life of the dental handpiece.

  1. The first mistake that is often made is that the practitioner chooses to use a chemical-based substance to clean the device prior to the process of sterilization. This act is known to create reactions that lead to the overall degradation of the dental appliance once it is subjected to the exceptionally high temperatures of the autoclave.
  2. Failure to clean the fiber optics could result in the staining and the breakdown of the lighting unit on the dental handpiece. Not only does this drastically reduce the amount of light that is transmitted within the operating field, but it could also – ultimately – lead to the damage of the light.
  3. If dental handpieces have contaminants within the water lines or the airline and are permitted to run through the dental handpiece, this will contaminate and potentially damage the auto chuck component.
  4. The autoclave unit within the practice must be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. Failure to do this will result in the accumulation of contaminants. If dental handpieces are placed within the unit for the purpose and intent of sterilization, they, too, will become contaminated. Depending on the types of substances on the inside of the autoclave device, the internal components of the handpieces may experience corrosion and other complications.
  5. The next mistake that many dental practitioners make is that they will leave the burs that are located in a dental handpiece with a manual chuck. This will result in high levels of debris accumulating inside of that chuck. If left in an auto chuck, the internal springs will experience a high level of tension. Once introduced to high levels of heat, those springs will weaken in a significant manner. Either situation will result in problems with the dental handpiece while it is being used on patients.
  6. Many practitioners believe that an ultrasonic cleaner may be used to clean the dental handpiece. While this makes sense, it is imperative to NEVER place a dental handpiece completely within fluids. In doing so, the unit could quit working right away.
  7. Lubrication is essential when it comes to the care and maintenance of dental handpieces. There are several holes on the dental handpiece. These include the water, chip air, exhaust, and drive air tube. The only hole that should be lubricated is the drive air tube hole. This is because it is the only one that leads directly into the internal components. If any hole other than that is lubricated, it will cause complications to the functionality of those holes and the internal components will experience drying due to lack of lubrication.
  8. Immediately after lubricating, many practitioners forget to run the dental handpiece. If this occurs, that oil will start to accumulate and gum up directly into the turbine and possibly other moving parts. Eventually, this will lead to operational failure of the dental handpiece.
  9. Many practitioners fail to place enough lubrication. Because of this, it never reaches the moving components of the dental appliance. It is imperative to read the maintenance guidelines associated with the dental handpieces that you use in your practice to ensure the proper amount of lubrication.
  10. The final mistake that is often made with dental handpieces during internal maintenance is the fact that it is removed too quickly prior to becoming completely dried. If this occurs, condensation will build up inside of the appliance. As this occurs, rust will develop and the internal components will be exposed to moisture – all of which could result in immediate damage.

Need Assistance?

Improperly maintaining your dental handpieces could result in damage and operational failure. The good news is, that we here at Hughes Dental specialize in dental handpiece maintenance and repair. Additionally, we offer a large product line of new handpieces and components. To ensure the safest maintenance and longevity of your dental appliances, we encourage you to take advantage of our services. To learn more, contact us today by calling: 1-800-773-0800

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