There are several reasons why a person may develop odontophobia, or the fear of visiting a dentist; however, according to studies, the most common fear among dental patients are the dental handpieces that are regularly utilized in the practice.
All dental practitioners have the skill set and the level of expertise that is needed to ensure that accidents and injuries are avoided; however, if dental handpieces are not properly maintained, they could pose many dangers. Dental handpiece maintenance must be a top priority among all dental professionals.
Continue reading to learn more about the possible dangers of faulty equipment and common signs it is time to have your dental handpieces maintained and/or repaired.
One of the most common issues that occur with electric dental handpieces that are not properly maintained is overheating. If the micromotors or the ultrasonic scalers within the handpiece are experiencing complications, they will overheat and could result in burns to your patients, your staff, or even you. Unfortunately, most patients will not – initially – feel a burn. This is because handpieces are most commonly utilized in procedures that call for anesthesia or numbing agents. This could further complicate the severity of the burn – if one should occur. The possibility of burns could be drastically reduced if all dental handpieces within a practice are placed on a regularly maintenance schedule.
The next danger that may stem from improperly maintained dental handpieces is excess noise. Faulty handpieces are known to result in noises that are high in intensity, high-frequency, and consistent. Each year, millions of practitioners suffer from noise-induced hearing loss, tinnitus, and other hearing-related complications due to the noise that is emitted from faulty instruments.
Cuts and Scratches
Many do not realize it, but an improperly maintained dental handpiece could result in cuts and scratches to the patients while procedures are being performed. In most instances, the areas are numbed, so, complications are not noticed until later. By that time, other issues could develop – such as infections. If you have your dental handpieces regularly maintained, you will face far fewer dangers – to yourself, your patients, and your practice.
Signs of Potential Dangers
There are many different signs that indicate that dangers may be near. These include the following:
- Non-concentric rotation of a bur
- Unusual noises
- High levels of vibrations
- Wobbly pieces
- Worn head spindle
- Decreased power