Something that can be such a small part of daily routine, can sometimes be the most costly, and even the most annoying. Dental handpieces are some of the most precisely engineered, and most commonly used tool in the dental industry. There are 4-5 huge players in the Dental field who all manufacture and create the new, and different designs; lately, all geared towards “long lasting”. Well, I hate to break it to you, but the biggest influence on how long your handpieces last is how they are maintained. After many years of training and experience, I have found several tricks to help you keep your handpieces up and running.
Lube, Baby, lube! “Too much lube has never hurt anyone. Seriously, you can never use too much lube. Focus!” This conversation has been repeated many times with customers, but it is very true. You can always under-lube a handpiece, but the only thing that is going to hurt from over-lube, is your wallet. Try to find that happy medium, which is usually once a day. If you use a handpiece once a day, then lube it after every time you are done. This is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to keep your handpiece running for as long as they can. I know dentists that will lube a handpiece every time they use it, sometimes 3-4 a day (not good). First of all, it is being way overused, and secondly, they will be spending extra cash on constantly buying lube. Just once a day if you have to; it will have great affects on the handpiece.
Clean! Every time you lube your handpiece, clean it all up. Nobody likes a piece of rusted metal in their mouth. Get some rubbing alcohol and a toothbrush, rub that sucker nice and clean every time you are about to lube it up. It will keep it nice, shiny, and looking new.
Don’t forget the Chuck. The chuck is definitely the most common failure in the handpiece, but it is usually the most expensive. About once a week, put a drop of lube down the hole in the chuck, right where the bur goes in. Now, grab a bur, and pretend like you are going to put it in for use; instead, go back and forth like a plunger. This will clean it up, and ensure that is is lubed for proper operation.
The More the Better! The more handpieces you have, the better. Just imagine having one handpiece, being used every day. Now compare that to a handpiece you use once a week. What will last longer? (I really hope you know the answer). Really, the less you use it, the longer they last. The problem with handpieces and the reason they break is directly linked to sterilizing; nothing likes to be held in steam at 200~ degrees. The less you sterilize, the better. In other words, the less you take the handpiece out of the sterilization packs, the longer they last.
Now I hate to break it to you, but they always break, and there will never be a sure-fire solution to never stop them from breaking. Make sure when you use dental handpiece repair, they are using high quality replacement parts. A lot of people charge extra, but some people don’t. Just find who you like. Also, find someone who is fast. The longer your handpiece is broken, the more stress the other handpieces are having put onto them. Finally, if you find your handpieces constantly breaking you are doing something wrong; usually, not having enough, or not lubing enough. Try lubing extra, if that doesn’t work, buy more. I know they are very expensive; look at buying a used one. Now days, the replacement parts that they can put into them will make them run like new, but at half the price. Just hope you can handle a little scratches on the side.
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