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Improperly Maintained High Speed Dental Handpieces Could Result in Repetitive Strain Injuries

When we think of dangerous professions, we often consider the jobs of law enforcement officers, construction workers, oil rig employees, and those that are similar in nature; however, dentistry is considered to be a highly hazardous career.

Most practitioners that suffer from work-related incidents do so as a result of the cumulative trauma that occurs in their body – particularly in the hands.

While issues such as straining the neck, improper posture, and standing in one position for an extended amount of time all takes it toll on the body, recent research indicates that utilizing improperly maintained high speed dental handpieces could result in repetitive strain injuries to both the hands and the wrists.

Signs Your Dental Handpieces Need Maintenance

High speed dental handpieces that are not properly maintained will become more difficult to operate. You will find that they vibrate in an unusual fashion, resulting in the need for you to grasp the instruments harder than normal.

As a result of this, you will place a high amount of strain on both the hand and the wrist that you use to operate the dental instrument. This – in turn – could result in a higher risk of suffering from a repetitive strain injury.

It is imperative for your patients, your practice, and your health that you keep your high-speed dental handpieces maintained – at all times. Other signs it is time for maintenance include – but, are not limited to – the following:

  • The bur may start to rotate in a con-concentric manner
  • A wide assortment of unusual noises may occur
  • The high-speed dental handpieces may become hot due to overheating
  • You may find that the dental instrument starts to become a bit wobbly
  • The head spindle may appear to be worn
  • The power may seem to decrease

Common Repetitive Strain Injuries That May Occur

The hands consist of many tendons, bones, nerves, and muscles. While all of these components work together to enable us to do a multitude of tasks, they can also make us highly susceptible to repetitive strain injuries as a result of the work that we do in our dental profession.

Examples of the most common injuries that may stem from using improperly maintained high speed dental handpieces include tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and bursitis.

The symptoms associated with repetitive strain injuries include pain, inflammation/swelling, a tingling sensation, numbness, weakness, being sensitive to extreme temperatures, and stiffness.

We Can Help

We here at Hughes Dental specialize in the maintenance and repair of all type of high-speed dental handpieces. If you notice that your dental instrument is not running optimally, has excessive vibrations during operation, or is very loud, it is time to get the instrument inspected.

In addition to high-speed dental handpieces, we also cover low speed dental handpieces, air-driven handpieces, electric dental handpieces, and surgical dental instruments.

To avoid becoming the next victim of a work-related repetitive strain disorder, contact us today to learn more about the options available.


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