Practice Tips #65: Maintain Your Handpiece

Maintaining your handpieces can often be overlooked. Hot gears from lack of oil and flattened bearings from overuse can easily be avoided. Dentists rely on high-performance handpieces to provide the best quality care to their patients. Even the best equipment can malfunction due to the lack of proper care, so American Dental Accessories is here to help you maximize the potential of your dental handpieces in a cost-effective and preventive way.

We suggest you print and post the following step-by-step list near your sterilization area as a handpiece care reminder and for easy reference.

Step 1: Clean the exterior of the handpiece using a mild soap and water solution to remove the gross debris in accordance with CDC guidelines.

Step 2: Once the handpiece has been thoroughly cleaned, a few drops of handpiece lubricant (or a quick spray) should be placed into the drive air hole of the handpiece per the following diagram:

Run the handpiece until nothing but clean lube comes out (all debris has been flushed). Continue to run until all excess lube has been expelled as well. NOTE: It may be necessary to repeat this step to expel all debris.

Step 3: For lube-free handpieces, perform the above procedure using a handpiece cleaner, rather than a lubricant.

Step 4: The above procedure is for high-speed handpieces and slow-speed motors. For slow-speed and electric attachments, lubricant should be sprayed into the handpiece from below and the attachment installed on a motor and run to expel any debris and distribute the lubricant.

Step 5: Once all debris has been flushed from the handpiece, sterilize it in a chemical vapor or steam sterilizer at or below 275º F, according to the sterilizer manufacturer's instructions.

Step 6: After sterilizing, remove the handpiece from your sterilizer and allow to cool completely.

Step 7: Most lubricants currently on the market will not break down in the sterilizer, so you should no longer need to lubricate your handpiece again after sterilization.

Your handpiece is now ready to use!

If you still need help, please look at our post on Dental Handpiece Maintenance tips or call us with any other questions you might have.

For additional handpiece maintenance and repair information see: The Blue Handbook: How to Care for Your Dental Handpiece.