Dental handpieces are an essential tool in any practice. They are used by dentists, hygienists, specialists and lab technicians. Whether performing the most routine prophy appointment or complicated endodontic, surgical or restorative treatment it is highly likely a handpiece will be required. While some handpieces are designed for a variety of uses, many specialized handpieces are suited only for specific procedures. This is why it is important to have the correct handpieces in your practice along with the systems you need to clean and maintain your handpieces.
What Types of Dental Handpiece Systems Are Available?
Dental handpieces and related equipment can be divided into a number of categories, and even within those categories there are multiple ways handpiece components can be organized. The basic breakdowns for handpieces are between complete handpiece systems, and individual handpiece components.
When it comes to complete handpiece systems you can consider:
- Highspeed Air-Driven Handpieces
- Lowspeed Air-Driven Handpieces
- Electric Dental Handpieces
- Air-Driven Surgical Handpieces
- Electric Surgical Handpieces
- Hygiene Handpieces
- Dental Laboratory Handpieces
- Portable Handpiece Systems
When considering different types of handpiece components the categories are:
- Handpiece Heads
- Handpiece Lights
- Handpiece Swivels
- Air Turbines
- Electric Motors
Maintenance of the handpieces:
During the period of warranty the dentist has to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and lubricate the handpiece with the lubricants supplied by the manufacturer.
The dentist must note down the number of the handpiece, since every handpiece manufacturer gives a number to the handpiece that he manufactures.
During autoclaving or sterilization procedures one must also follow the manufacturer’s instructions as far as the temperature to which the handpiece can be subjected to.
The handpiece after use should be handed over to the assistant who will follow all barrier techniques.
The association for European safety and infection control in dentistry recommends adequate external cleaning and disinfection in a washer disinfector and in addition some form of internal cleaning and disinfection. Turbines and dental handpieces are very delicate instruments and have to be maintained with extreme care while disinfecting and auto claving. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning, lubrication and sterilization. While purchasing a handpiece ask the manufacturer whether the handpiece has the anti retraction valves incorporated for preventing any regurgitation
If the patient is suffering from a known infectious disease, the handpiece has to go to the autoclave rapped in a piece of cloth or bagged before it is handed over to the assistant for routine external cleaning of the handpiece.
Once it is autoclaved the handpiece comes back for routine cleaning and then re-autoclaved. One has to select the lubricant very carefully for proper maintenance of the rotating instrument. The most significant factors while selecting a lubricant is that it should be environment friendly as well as non toxic and non allergenic. It should be heat resistant and should not evaporate. The lubricant should be safe to use in conjunction with steam sterilization at 135 degree Celsius.
As far as lubrication of the handpiece is concerned most clinicians would prefer the bur in the handpiece. Lubrication can be carried out either before or after sterilization.
Before using the bagged autoclaved handpiece, the dentist is expected to run the handpiece for at least 30 seconds to remove the excess oil present in the head of the handpiece.