Dental Handpiece Mistakes

There has been countless times that I get handpieces back just weeks after they’ve been repaired. The Dr.’s don’t tend to be too happy, “What the hell? These were fixed LAST WEEK!” So to ensure everything is ok, the first thing I do is test them… Only to find out that everything is running perfectly fine. So what could be happening? Well, I dig deeper and take everything apart to ensure no debris has gotten lodged, or bearings have broken for some reason.

Pretty much 99.99999% of the time, there is not one single thing wrong with the handpiece. I lube it up, and send it back. Now, the crazy thing is, I won’t see it again until something actually breaks; a year or so later! What could be the cause of this? What could make this happen? Well, it’s usually improper lubrication, improper use (running while they are hot), or just straight-up user error. I outlay the most common factors below for the dental handpiece mistakes you should avoid making while using your dental handpiece; and get the most life out of them! No more silly repairs every couple of months. 

Common Dental Handpiece Mistakes:

  • Dropping The Handpiece

We get it, you have your hands full and you’re trying to fit just oneeeeee moreeee thinggggg. Well that one more long narrow slippery handpiece slips right out of your hand and smack the floor. You inspect it and don’t see a problem, but it has just never run the same since. The thing you don’t see is the small dent in the head, or the internal damage that occurred, which causes all kinds of problems and most certainly needs sent in for repair. Most warranties don’t cover these types of repairs as the repair never failed, you did! Also, quick side note* this is something to be extra cautious about when looking at purchasing a used dental handpiece, which you can learn more about. 

Just take one extra trip and save yourself the hassle of dropping a handpiece and costing yourself some un-needed expense. 

  • Using an Uncertified Bur

We get handpieces in the shop that are “screaming” but when we run a diagnostics test they are fine… it happens more than you would think. Sure, it could be a couple of different things, as listed above. However, one of the most common causes is a bent, or uncertified bur. Sure! cheap burs are great; use them and throw them away and save yourself a couple dollars. Don’t worry about the patients health when one breaks and bounces around in their mouth, and surely don’t wonder why your handpieces have been making a horrible sound ever since… definitely not the bur!

Well it is. They cause a ton of problems: breaking, bending, getting stuck in the chuck, etc. These dental highspeed handpieces spin so fast that when you have one with a bur that is not perfectly straight, it screams a horrible high pitched nuisance of a noise! Most of the time it doesn’t even require a repair, but save yourself the hassle and get some high quality burs. 

  • Using Low Quality Lubricants

Another simple cost saving technique is skipping lubrication or using the cheapest lube you can find…. WRONG! As you know, there are a ton of options out there when it comes to choosing lubrication. Mostly everything out there is high quality and reliable lubricant; however, there are some cheap ones that are not, and your handpieces will suffer. They don’t get the proper protection they need when they are going through dental handpiece sterilization, the lubricant leaves the bearings too soon when they are being run, or doesn’t protect against corrosion like it should. These are all problems that will certainly make your handpieces lifespan dwindle drastically, and is a common mistake across all types of dental handpieces.

It’s simple, spend a little extra money to get proper lubricant that will ensure that your handpieces will be protected during dental handpiece sterilization, that will stay in the bearings when being ran, and will keep rust out of internals of the handpieces. We can tell the quality of lubricant as soon as we open up the handpiece; so, sorry! No sneak arounds here. Good lube can increase the lifespan of the handpieces DRASTICALLY.

  • Failing To Clean The Fiber Optics

Dental Highspeed Handpiece

Does your staff have an extra 2 seconds to spare? I’m sure sometimes they don’t feel like it. Would they have 2 seconds to spare if the outcome was more light coming through your handpiece? Well, if you just quickly brush, or clean the fiber optics of your handpieces before they enter the process of dental handpiece sterilization, your fiber optics will shine bright, for years to come! After a while debris builds up in the crevice created by the fiber optics on the handpiece shell. Over time they block more and more light until you have nothing left coming through. 

Unfortunately, fiber optic repairs are usually pretty intensive and expensive. So if you can keep them forever and never get them fixed because nothing is ever wrong, then why wouldn’t you? It’s a simple solution that will keep 100% of the light coming through for as long as possible. 

Read more: 4 Signs That Your Dental Handpiece May Be Failing


Cutting Corners Is More Expensive

Were you able to catch a trend reading through the dental handpiece common mistakes? Each dental handpiece mistake is caused by someone trying to save a buck, trying to save time, or just being lazy.  We know that you know how to use dental handpiece. These little steps that are being missed, or these dollars being saved aren’t worth it when you are facing your next repair bill. Especially a repair bill that is happened much too frequently. Now that you are aware of these common dental handpiece mistakes, you can realize how simple they are to fix. Once they are fixed, your repairs will be less frequent, and will actually be true repairs, not just adjustments. 

Are you experiencing some of the problems above? Check out or prices and information!

Do you want even more life out of your handpieces? 

Want to see how proper lubrication can greatly increase the life of your handpieces?

Check out those links for more information!

Let me know if there are any dental handpiece mistakes, or common handpieces problems you are experiencing by clicking here.