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The 7-Step Maintenance Guide for Dental Handpieces

Dental handpieces are critical to a successful practice; therefore, it is imperative that practitioners are aware of the 7-step maintenance process that will keep their instruments running optimally.


Dental handpieces are highly sophisticated instruments that require a high amount of diligence when it comes to cleaning and maintenance protocols. Standard maintenance will keep the dental instruments running properly, ensure optimal safety, and will ensure the highest level of success for your practice.

Here, you will learn 7 steps that will keep your dental handpieces functioning appropriately longer and will aid in maximizing your return on investment.

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  1. Surface Cleaning – According to the guidelines as set forth by the Centers for Disease Control, before removing the handpiece from the supply hose water should be flushed through the functioning dental handpiece for at least 30 seconds. This aids in removing contaminants. Immediately thereafter, the unit should be surface cleaned to remove biological debris from the external surface of the handpiece.
  2. Drying – The next step in maintaining dental handpieces is to ensure thorough drying after surface cleaning the instrument.
  3. Lubrication – Oil should be sprayed directly into the air line until it is emitted from the head of the handpiece. This ensures that all of the internal bearings have been properly lubricated. Remember, use pressurized air to push the oil through the dental handpiece, otherwise, the bearings will not be impacted.
  4. Run the Handpiece – Once your dental handpiece has been lubricated, you must run it. This will aid in distributing the oil all the way through the bearings, as well as the chuck mechanism. This also helps in ensuring that excess oil is properly expelled so that coagulation is not an issue during the autoclaving process. All practitioners should invest in a station designed for air flushing. Once installed, the only requirement is access to compressed air.
  5. Fiber Optics – The next step to properly maintaining dental handpieces is to ensure that you take the time to clean the fiber optics. This process only requires a Q-tip and a small amount of alcohol. This will remove oil and debris from the surface of the fiber optics. As a result, discoloration will not occur and buildup will not develop on the surface.
  6. Bagging – The next step is to bag your dental handpieces so that the overall sterility of the piece is maintained. Be sure to purchase bags that are designed for your handpieces.
  7. Sterilization – The final step in maintaining your dental handpieces is the sterilization process. For this, simply go by the guidelines that have been established by the manufacturer of the device. Once the process has been completed, make certain that the instrument is completely dried.

This 7-step maintenance process is typically appropriate for all types of dental handpieces. Prior to engaging in the process, check your owner’s manual to ensure that no additional steps are necessary.

If you would like assistance in maintaining your dental handpieces, or your instruments are in need of repair, check out OUR SERVICES

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