Recognizing Signs of Wear and Tear in Your Dental Handpiece
Even with regular maintenance, dental handpieces will require repairs from time to time. Without knowing what the signs of failure are, the equipment could fail at an extremely inconvenient time, or be used past the point of repair, causing harm to patients and requiring a total replacement. Here are a few ways to tell if it’s time for electric handpiece repair.
Heat is typically never a good thing when it comes to electric components. Overheating can be caused by a few different issues, but the most common is the use of cleaning chemicals. When the equipment is cleaned with the incorrect product, such as a caustic chemical, the moving parts of the handpiece can become stuck due to the cleaner building up between the individual moving parts. With resistance comes heat, and excessive heat means electric handpiece repairs are required.
If your handpiece is making unusual noises, that’s a good sign that that you have worn out the internal bearings, and that it’s time for repairs. These are components that typically do wear out over time, requiring regular maintenance for smooth operation. Any kind of clanking, loud vibration, or other unusual noise typically indicates that the bearings in the equipment have worn out and will need to be replaced. It is important to address strange noises right away as the resulting vibrations can throw off your precision when treating patients.
Electric handpiece repair is most commonly needed when the bur is rotating incorrectly or becoming stuck while rotating. It goes without saying, the handpiece cannot function properly—or even at all—if the bur is not spinning concentrically. This type of repair can be avoided or at least mitigated if the equipment is properly maintained on a regular schedule.
If the handpiece is wet when removed from the sterilizer and continues being used in its damp state, rust will begin to form. Moisture problems can also stem from the handpieces being stored in bags that are not completely dry. If rust is showing up on any of the equipment, you should be advised to service it immediately, or else the handpiece could become so badly damaged that it would need to be completely replaced.
This list is by no means exhaustive—there are further signs that electric handpiece repair is required, but these four are a few of the most commonly-seen issues. With regular maintenance and a keen eye for the warning signs, a dental handpiece can have a significantly increased lifespan.