Cliff's Notes

The Business of Dentistry

Handpiece Maintenance & Instrument Sharpening

Cliff’s Notes for March 7, 2010

Cliff Marsh, Henry Schein ……Cell: 201-321-7494……Fax: 201-262-2210…..E-mail

“Fewer things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.”
Mark Twain

In This Week’s Issue
• The Truth Behind Dental Handpieces!
• How to Sharpen Dental Instruments.
• Seminars In The Sun!

The Truth Behind Dental Handpiece Break Down……………………………………………………………………
It is true that sterilization does shorten the life of your handpieces, but it can’t be avoided just like bad road conditions shorten the life of your car tires and shocks. However, by performing proper maintenance on a routine basis we can maximize chair time between repairs.

When dental high-speed handpieces run at full bore, they will turn at 350k-400k rpm. That’s pretty fast and the law of physics tells us that friction heat will develop. When two metals with the same molecular structure rub against each other creating a lot of “friction heat” they tend to fuse or distort. If you don’t plan on using an automatic flush & lube system, then you want your staff to know how to care for your equipment.

The high-speed turbine has 4 basic parts. The chuck, race, ball bearings & impala. The chuck holds the bur and usually has a push-button spring style assembly that opens & closes it to remove or place a rotary instrument. They are designed to close to the ISO standard shank size. They need to be kept clean. The build-up of debris will cause a premature failure. Your handpiece will run great, but the bur will fall out. The impala is the blade portion of the turbine. The blades catch the 32 psi air blast from the delivery system and spins the chuck. The impala shaft rides on ball bearings traveling through the race. The ball bearings and the race (track they ride in) are precision sized so that the impala assembly can turn freely at extreme speed for a prolonged period of time. You need to lubricate because these components get very hot. Use an Autoclavable lubricant after the dental procedure is complete. That statement contradicts some older methods, however, just like your bonding agents evolve, so does synthetic lubrication. By using a quality lubricant you will clean and lubricate in one step. This product link is to the Henry Schein site. You don’t have to pay $35.00 for quality and your spray caps will fit.

After the procedure, you need to clean your handpiece before autoclaving to remove any organic material that might corrode your handpiece. Also don’t forget the fiber optics as organic and other material can attach to the lens during autoclaving and reduce function. A soft bristle brush and warm water is all you need. It is not advised to use detergents, soaps or disinfectant wipes as they can damage the optics and the rubber “o” rings that seat the turbine cartridge in the handpiece head. Don’t be afraid of cleaning the handpiece in the sink. They are made to get wet, as long as you lubricate and purge before sealing in an autoclave pouch for sterilization. The lubricant and purge will expel any water and dirt, protect the bearings during sterilization (autoclavable lubricant) and have the handpiece ready for use from the pouch.
Purge systems are important and not that expensive. They prolong the life of your handpieces and dental equipment. After all, the 4th hole in your tubing is for the handpiece exhaust. Where is that exhaust going? Synthetic lubricant tends to deteriorate dental unit tubing and hoses.
I always recommend an ISO Certified repair center such as Pro-Repair, However, if you are interested in learning more about handpiece repairs, log onto:

How to Sharpen Dental Instruments……………………………………………………………………………………
Hand instruments are one of your biggest manageable inventory assets. Next week we’ll get into managing the work flow of your instruments but today, we’ll talk about sharpening and repair.

To start, if you buy quality name brand instruments (i.e. Hu-Friedy, Miltex, Nordent, American Eagle, Titan, Premier, etc.) from Henry Schein, the instrument is guaranteed for life against rusting, breaking or tarnishing. High quality instruments are manufactured with a high grade of stainless steel and sometimes incorporate tungsten carbide cutting edges and Titanium working ends. These instruments are usually very expensive and should be sharpened or repaired when needed. I can’t tell you how many $25.00 Scalers get tossed out with sharps because they are getting dull. Your staff may be sharpening them, but maybe they are doing it the wrong way.

How much time does your staff spend sharpening instrument? Is the cutting edge angled correctly? If not, it will result in shortened instrument life. It is recommended that you utilize a sharpening/honing machine that is designed for dental instruments or send them to a company that offers a sharpening service and is ISO 9000 certified.
Henry Schein’s Pro-Repair center offers an ISO 900 certified instrument sharpening and repair service they can be reached @1-800-645-6594, option 4 then option 3. You can also log onto:
Please note: Henry Schein ProRepair does not re-tip instruments. Altering the integrity of the original manufacturer’s handle and tip assembly often leads to premature structural failure, resulting in serious risks. This process cannot be ISO certified.
For those of you that want to sharpen your own instruments, there are several quality honing machines available. Hu-Friedy, Nordent & Premier all have reasonably priced sharpening systems. If you choose to sharpen by hand, the following link is a YouTube presentation that was created by Hu-friedy about 12 years ago. I hope it helps.

Seminars In The Sun, It’s been a Long Winter, It’s Time to Thaw-Out…………………………………………………………
When registering, Mention Cliff’s Note/Dr. Glazer and get an extra discount!

Have you ever experienced paradise?
CaboDent Seminars in The Sun Presents Seminar 2010
Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Hotel & Spa
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Wednesday, April 28, 2010 – Sunday, May 2, 2010
Course Dates: April 29th – May 1st (12 credits)
We invite you to join us at the fabulous Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Hotel & Spa for a “Sunsational” experience of education, relaxation and fun.
The Seminar 2010 Program has combined three of the most sought after speakers in dentistry. Dr. Howard Glazer, worldwide educator and lecturer, will take us through the journey into the hottest dental materials and emerging technologies that you should be embracing to keep your practice at the cutting edge especially for today’s dentistry. Dr. Ahmet Ozan will show you how to make endodontic treatment easy and fun. He will graciously provide you with the necessary hands-on training to help facilitate these techniques into your practice. Dr. Roy Sonkin, Deputy Commander DMORT II and Forensic Dental Consultant to the Office of Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York, will guide you on an exploration of forensic dentistry. Come learn from one of the most dynamic speakers on this subject. To complement our program we have chosen the perfect resort setting: The Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Hotel & Spa offering all oceanfront accommodations on absolutely gorgeous grounds with architecture to match. The spa, the pool, the food, the drinks, the service…Nothing compares! The staff is exceptional and well attending – you will be treated as though you are the most important person staying there which further emulates the kind of seminar and vacation experience that CaboDent is all about!
REDUCED TUITION ($695 REDUCED TO $595) CALL TODAY FOR MORE INFORMATION: 631‐423‐5200 There are still a few rooms for $205.00/day + taxes and resort fees, that can be reserved by calling: 631-423-5200 today! For more information: / Email:

Sunday, March 7, 2010…………………………………………………………………………………………….
Today is going to be the nicest day of the year. Enjoy and be safe.

Cliff Marsh
Henry Schein Dental
P.O. Box 663, 45 Rt. 46 East, Suite 605
Pine Brook, NJ 07058
tel. 201-321-7494

March 7, 2010 - Posted by | 1

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