An Expert Outlines the Steps Involved in the Repair of Dental Handpieces
Dental handpieces are delicate instruments. They are used in a wide range of dental procedures, from cleanings to root canals, and so on. Naturally, proper maintenance is important when it comes to their lifespan and functionality. Unfortunately, because handpieces are somewhat fragile, there is a number of things that could go wrong when trying to repair a dental handpiece without proper training. Even cleaning can lead to a situation where a repair job is needed.
First, a professional will disassemble the handpiece in order to identify which part(s) need to be repaired or replaced. Handpiece repair kits that have parts for particular procedures are available for purchase for this specific usage. Common issues include:
• Loose/broken backcaps
• For air-driven handpieces, loose spray caps that can come off during procedures
• Loose burs
• Broken turbines
• Worn bearings, and other consequences of sustained usage
• Electrical issues, involving couplings or power cords
Normally, the majority of the repair will involve damages within the turbine, which consists of several smaller parts that can become worn down or break over time. It is not recommended for you to attempt repairing the turbine yourself as a slight misalignment can make basic functions harder for the instrument, thusly reducing its lifespan and requiring replacement even faster.
Once the necessary parts have been gathered, the handpiece repair professional will carefully clean each part for good measure. With the broken parts and turbine replaced, the professional will then inspect the rest of the handpiece in case any other parts need to be replaced. As most handpieces in use these days are of the electrical variety (rather than the traditional air-driven kind) the issue could lie in the various electrical components of the handpiece.
Due to the delicate nature of dental handpieces, you will notice that the professional never submerses the unit in water, nor applies broad, rough movements in the cleaning process. It is important to clean the pieces carefully using alcohol for sterilization, with soft materials like cotton applicators or light gauze that can reach smaller spaces. Sensitive areas, like the fiber optic ends, are particularly fragile, so the professional will take great care handling these components. It is important to remember that properly cleaning dental handpieces will dramatically reduce the need for a handpiece repair job, and will greatly extend the longevity of the handpiece.