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Terms & Abbreviations

ADAI: American Dental Accessories, Inc.

Anti-retraction: Only allows flow in one direction. Usually applies to water. Required of dental unit water lines since 1992 by ADA standards.

Asepsis: Easily cleaned. Containing a minimum number of grooves, or surface irregularities that can trap bacteria-laden debris.

Barb: A serrated fitting used to keep tubing in place. Tubing is slipped over the barb, and then a plastic sleeve is placed over the tubing to keep it in place. Most barbs come in two sizes: small (1/16" o.d.) or large (1/8" o.d.)

Compression fitting: Another type of fitting to hold tubing in place. This type of fitting includes a connector to which the tubing attaches, a plastic sleeve that compresses (squeezes) the tubing, and a nut that forces the sleeve to compress. As the nut is tightened on the fitting, the sleeve is compressed onto the tubing securing it in place. Compression fittings are most often used for larger tubing, 1/4" o.d. or 3/8" o.d.

HP: Handpiece. A precision dental rotary instrument. Drill.

HVE: High volume evacuator. Also known as high speed suction. Large diameter aspirator. Standard HVE's fit on 1/2" i.d. tubing and have a 7/16" i.d. opening to accept tips.

ID or OD (id/od): Inside or outside diameter. The distance from one side of a circular object (e.g. tubing) to the other side; measured through the center.

Junction Box: Can be used to refer to either of two things. May refer to the main (master) valves which allow air and water to flow through to the unit. Normally attached to these valves are regulators to control the main air & water pressure to assure proper functioning. Alternatively, a "junction box" is literally a box used to cover the aforementioned valves and regulators. ADAI carries complete junction box assemblies with valves and an enclosure as well as the individual components alone.

Live Air: Air that is taken directly from the Junction Box and is not dependent on extra switches or controls for activation.

"Midwest" or "Borden" style: "Midwest" style handpieces or connectors are the most common type of tubing connection used in the United States. "Midwest" style handpieces connect to 4 or 5 hole tubing. Even though they attach to four hole tubing, many Midwest-style handpieces will have only 2 holes, any extra holes are simply not used & should be deactivated at the unit. Borden style tubing has only 3 holes. Borden style handpieces may have 1, 2, or 3 holes (all will connect to 3 hole tubing). This type of connector is most commonly used outside of the United States. See diagram below:


Momentary valve: A spring-loaded valve that returns to the "off" position when released.

MPT or FPT: Male or Female Pipe Thread. Threads placed onto a pipe with an inside diameter as listed. Note that the size listed refers to the pipe, not the threads. Thus a 1/2" FPT is a female thread placed on a 1/2" i.d. pipe. As the pipe diameter needs to be consistent, this makes the diameter of the thread much larger, approximately 3/4" in this case.

OEM: Original equipment manufacturer.

Relieving valve: A valve that allows the air from the "out" fitting to be exhausted from around the toggle when switched to the "off" position. This is required when the switch is providing air to another valve (e.g. master) to allow it to turn on. Note, that this type of valve will have air flowing through it, even though it may be used to turn water off and on.

SE: Saliva ejector. Also known as slow speed suction or low volume suction. Small diameter aspirator.