Practice Tips #114: Quick Connect Couplers

How to Replace a Broken Coupler

A great way for us to help you diagnose problems, such as quick connect couplers on your dental equipment is by sending us photographs (as we discussed in Practice Tips #101). Or, when feasible, send us the damaged dental part. We frequently see photos of broken quick connect couplers. Rather than trying to replace this connector with the same fragile connector, you’re better off upgrading to a permanent brass connector.

In previous issues of Practice Tips, we discussed quick disconnects. They help so a single piece of equipment easily moves from room to room, as well as to connect to the air or water supply. Ultrasonic scalers and etchers are two of the most common examples of equipment that connect with quick disconnects.

Similar to quick disconnects are quick connect couplers. These handy fittings allow for quick attachment to air and water. Unlike a quick disconnect, these fittings make more permanent connections. While they easily detach, they aren’t expected to detach on a regular basis.

Supply Tubing Connect Coupler

PHOTO: Connector (item #13-90) easily twists apart for quick connecting and disconnecting of supply tubing.

Installing Equipment

To simplify installation of new equipment, many manufacturers provide their equipment with quick connect couplers. They allow quick and easy connection of all the air and water lines in a delivery system’s umbilical tubing to the junction box. They save time when installing the equipment.

These couplers do not facilitate disconnecting the lines in any way, however. These lines need permanent attachment . Having the capacity to disconnect the lines easily is not why these couplers are in place. In fact, having the lines come apart would cause your unit to cease functioning, so it’s desirable to eliminate that possibility.

Quick Connector in Equipment

PHOTO: A commonly used style of a quick connect coupler.

Broken Couplers

As these couplers are made of plastic, they do break. When they do eventually break, we recommend you replace these couplers with metal splicers instead. Practice Tips issues #5 and #32 have more information about these fittings and how to work with them.

It’s important to keep the function of a part in mind when searching for a replacement, such as quick connect couplers. Don’t get too hung up on appearances. Often when a part fails, it has a superior component to replace it and  provide the same function, while gaining a benefit, like its longevity.


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