Dental Handpiece News
For Questions About Your Repair

Dental Handpieces – Basic Maintenance

Dental Handpieces – Basic Maintenance

Utilizing dental handpieces in your practice is now considered to be commonplace. These instruments utilize an assortment of disks, specially-designed cups, and/or burs that are used to prepare a patient’s tooth for restoration. Additionally, dental handpieces assist in the tasks of cleaning, contouring, and polishing a tooth or multiple teeth.

These dental instruments may be powered either by an air turbine or an electric-based motor. Depending on the rotational speed of the device, the instrument may either be classified as being “high-speed” or “low-speed”.

In order to ensure that your handpieces are performing optimally, it is essential that you perform basic maintenance on the instruments. In this guide, you will be presented with a step-by-step approach to this type of maintenance.

The following outlines the steps that should be taken regularly to protect your equipment, your staff, and your patients:

  1. The first step to basic maintenance as it pertains to your dental handpieces is to ensure that you clean the surfaces of your instruments on a regular basis. According to the guidelines as set forth by the CDC, it is prudent for water- cooled handpieces to be run and to discharge water into a sink or container for 20-30 seconds after completing care on each patient.This will eliminate any and all contaminants that are located within the water line.
  2. Once you have flushed water from the instrument, you should use a brush and a mild detergent under running water to remove any remaining microorganisms or other pollutants on the dental handpieces. Remember, never use alcohol as a cleansing agent as this could actually dehydrate the spores on the dental instrument. As a result, resistance to the sterilization could occur.
  3. Immediately after, always ensure that your dental handpieces are completely dried. If water remains, chamber oxidation is sure to occur. This, in turn, could result in the onset of corrosion.
  4. The next maintenance step is to lubricate the dental handpieces.
  5. Once you have placed lubrication into the air line for the drive, run the handpiece to successfully expel the excess oil from the instrument. This step will also help in evenly distributing the lubrication oil throughout the bearings and will aid in preventing coagulation while autoclaving.
  6. If your dental handpieces include fiber optics, you should use a dab of alcohol on a cue tip in order to clean this area.
  7. Once you have completed the above-mentioned maintenance steps, you should then place the clean dental handpieces within a bag. This will ensure the proper sterilization.
  8. Once your dental handpieces have been bagged, ensure that the instruments are autoclaved.
  9. You should then make certain that the dental instruments are completely dried.
  10. Always make certain – when drying your dental handpieces – that the paper side of your bag is placed up. This will allow the steam from the drying procedure to escape so that corrosion does not occur.

If you are not comfortable performing these steps and other dental handpiece maintenance steps, we here at Hughes Dental can help. We perform basic maintenance and we repair dental handpieces. For more information on these services, as well as any parts that you may require, simply call us at:


Get Started on your
Dental Handpiece repair