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Something about Dental Handpieces

Since the advent of the pneumatic turbine dental handpiece in 1957, the dental handpiece has been popular with patients and operators for its extraordinary rotational speed, quickly replaced electric handpieces, and become an indispensable tool in today’s dental work. In recent years, although air blasting technology and laser technology have also begun to be used in oral clinical treatment, turbine dental handpieces still occupy an important position.

Nowadays, dental handpieces have become an indispensable tool for oral clinical work. There are many kinds of dental handpieces  available on the market, with complete functions and different quality, and there is a wide choice. However, the price is relatively expensive, so it is necessary to take appropriate maintenance measures to maintain the mechanical properties for as long as possible. On the other hand, the dental handpiece generates a negative pressure when the operation stops, and blood, saliva and debris enter the interior with air and water, and are distributed to bearings and balls, etc., becoming an important medium for cross-infection. Therefore, ‘one person (patient) one machine’ has been identified by more and more oral medical institutions as an important measure of infection control.

Dental handpieces are used frequently, which will cause wear and tear. However, according to the survey, the most common cause of damage to handpiece is debris and overheating. If the blood, saliva, and debris entering the inside of the handpiece are not cleaned before sterilization, they will harden under high temperature baking and damage the mechanical parts of the handpiece. When the handpiece is under high temperature, its metal materials and design components will also be damaged. Therefore, the handpiece production requires that the sterilization temperature not exceed 135 °C.

Each manufacturer has its own regulations for the sterilization and maintenance of its products. Carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions and strictly follow the instructions on the instructions for cleaning and sterilization. It is the most important part of handpiece maintenance. It is best to extract the relevant content from the manual, print it into a card, send it to the relevant staff, and review the maintenance routine regularly (every three months) to prevent ‘simplification’ of a certain step due to inertia. The types of dental handpieces used in each clinic are different. New employees may not be familiar with the maintenance routines of the handpieces used, and should receive the necessary training. The clinic should arrange for someone who is familiar with the troubleshooting methods for common faults. It is best to get support from manufacturers and distributors. Regularly send the handpieces for professional maintenance during the clinic stoppage.

Dental handpiece sterilization and maintenance should be handled by special person. No matter how busy the work is, these tasks must be done step by step, and you must not ‘take shortcut’. The so-called ‘maintenance-free’ handpiece has only been specially processed on the surface of the ball bearing, so that the handpiece will not stick to the debris during use and the lubricant will not be lost. However, the rest of the bearing (such as O-rings, etc.) is still to be maintained, so do not ignore the routine maintenance of these handpieces.

Flushing is an important preparation for handpiece maintenance. When flushing, align the air inlet at the rear of the handpiece with a pressurized detergent nozzle and rinse off the debris inside the handpiece with detergent. Then connect the handpiece to the dental chair, do not remove the bur (most handpieces should not be removed when running), start the machine, and wash off the debris and detergent in the handpiece.

The parts of the handpiece are made of steel, so the key to maintenance is to ensure that these parts are isolated from moisture at all times, and the best means of isolation is lubrication. The authoritative opinion is that the ball of the bearing should have a lubricant at all times. However, too much lubricant will block the sterilization surface and the sterilization factor affecting the sterilization process. Excessive lubricant builds up on the surface of the bearing ball and can also degrade the performance of the handpiece.

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