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Lubricants for Dental Handpieces (Part 1)

Sirona-T1If you own and/or operate a dental practice, special attention should be made regarding lubricants for dental handpieces. Since the initialization of increased speeds in dental handpieces for day-to-day tasks, such as shaping cavities, there have been an increased amount of problems as it relates to the basic maintenance and care measures of handpieces. One of the main problems observed by those that work on these dental instruments is lack of proper lubrication. While it is true that there are many suggestions about the types of lubricants to use and the methods of applying such products, numerous dentist facilities are failing to engage in this task.

Proper Care Measures
Before delving into specifics regarding the lubricants and dental handpieces, we feel it is first important to share information on the proper care measures that should be taken with these instruments. First, the handpieces should be cleaned. The second step is lubrication. Third, they should undergo some form of sterilization.  The final step in caring for dental handpieces is adjustment. Each of these care measure steps are highly dependent upon the type of lubrication that is used – especially the cleaning step and the sterilization step. As a result of this fact, it is important to place an emphasis on evaluating the properties of the lubricants being used on the handpieces in your practice.

Investigating Lubricants
In the past, there have been several investigations performed involving the lubricants used to clean and maintain dental handpieces. Essentially, all of these studies involved evaluating four distinct areas. These include:

  1. The viscosity of the lubricant
  2. The Stability of the lubricant under the pressure of heat
  3. The evaluation in the straight dental handpieces
  4. The evaluation in the contra-angle dental handpieces

For the purpose and intent of this series, we will focus on the areas of viscosity and stability of the lubricants under the pressure of heat.

The Viscosity of the Lubricants
The first area we will place our focus is on the viscosity of the lubricants used to clean and maintain dental handpieces. According to studies, the viscosity of a lubricant liquid is its ability to be resistant to change of its form. It is also its internal-based friction. Out of all of the characteristics involved in selecting a dental handpiece lubricant that is considered to be suitable, the viscosity is the most important. It does not matter if you are using a handpiece that is straight or one with a contra-angle, all lubricants that have been tested and are said to have a low level of viscosity are the ones that are considered to be the most suitable for use in dental practices.

Thank you for reading Part 1 of our series at Hughes Dental, “Lubricants for Dental Handpieces”. Here, you have learned that one of the main problems associated with the functionality and durability of dental handpieces is lack of proper lubrication. You have also learned about the four areas of focus in determining the proper lubricant, and about the viscosity of the lubricants. Be sure to visit us next week for Part 2 of this series, where you will learn about the stability of a lubricant when it is exposed to heat. To learn more about our dental handpieces and the services that we offer, visit us today at:

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