How to Know When You Can No Longer Repair a Dental Handpiece
In the fast-paced and busy environment of a dentist’s office, dental handpiece maintenance may not be on the top of everyone’s priorities. Sometimes, regular maintenance turns into “every now and again” maintenance, and the handpieces in question break down and become unusable. In these events, repair of the dental handpiece is no longer an option, and your office is now forced to look at replacements instead. While regular maintenance could have delayed the replacement dilemma by extending the unit’s lifespan, replacement is by no means a rare occurrence. Here are three major tell-tale signs that your dental handpiece needs to be replaced, and not simply repaired:
As you may be aware, dental handpieces need to be drained every day. If they aren’t, water will build up inside the compressor, which could allow for the formation of mildew. This mildew can cause a backup in the compressor, and because your dental handpiece requires dry air to function, water accumulation could push a repair of your dental handpiece into a full blown replacement. You can check for dirt and mildew in the compressor by emptying them onto a clean towelette.
Dental handpieces do require frequent cleaning, but they shouldn’t be fully submerged into water while being cleaned. The water may not fully dry and that accumulation could cause internal rust in your handpiece. Rust, consequently, can damage any moving parts, and once those go you won’t be able to simply repair your dental handpiece; you’ll need a full replacement. Along the same line of submerging into water, you shouldn’t be using disinfectant for your handpieces. Chemicals in the disinfectant could potentially react poorly to the extreme heat during the sterilization of your handpiece.
While lubrication is an essential component of maintaining your handpieces, you must be sure to check the instructions to ensure you are lubricating the right pieces for each model you own. You must also run the handpiece after applying the lubricant, otherwise you could run the risk of a lubricant oil buildup in the turbine. Repair of the dental handpiece may still be possible, but if the buildup is too strong, replacement may be the most viable option.
Keeping an eye out for these three signs could save you time and money by extending the lifespan of your dental handpiece, ensuring that you may repair it rather than replace it for as long as possible while still maintaining safe and efficient function. Dental handpieces are a necessary tool in dentistry, and avoiding unnecessary replacements will ensure your business continues to run as smoothly as the parts you care for, so remain vigilant in the maintenance of your equipment.