Cliff's Notes

The Business of Dentistry

The Master Craftsman’s Tools

A fine furnisher Master Craftsman, an artist, an athlete, a dentist always do their best work when they use the best tools. Your dental handpiece is your #1 tool. If your handpiece doesn’t preform you can’t work. So maybe it’s time to look at the function, maintenance, and power supply that can shut your practice down for hours or a full day. Not all handpiece are the same and the small price variation should have no bearing on what works best in your office.

In today’s dental trade market everyone is talking about impression scanners and I know you are too, but you need quality tools to get to the scanning process and in every case you will use your handpiece. A quality piece costs about the same as re-doing a crown that was under your practice warranty policy. Failure costs money.

Failure … Dental handpiece are very difficult to design and manufacture. To simplify it, they are miniature jet engines. Air driven turbines freewheel at 350k rpm to 450k rpm. Electric high speeds turn at 200k rpm, they need constant care and maintenance. If your quality high speed is being repaired more than once every 2 years I would assume there is a breakdown in maintenance protocol. Most often it involves the turn-over process.

Turn-over … When the clinical procedure is over a team member cleans the room. They clean the handpiece (with what?), lubricate it (how & with what), and sterilize it. Most offices clean the piece with a disinfectant wipe and that will breakdown the gaskets that secure the race (spinning part). Also, on lesser quality pieces the outer finish will be damaged. Clean a dental handpiece with water, they’re made to get wet. Then the handpiece has to be lubricated correctly with autoclavable lubricant that will protect the internal components from the heat of the sterilizer. Disinfectants will degrade the internal components.

The Internal Components … Outside factors greatly effect the internal function of a quality highspeed. The inside construction is very complex and designed to deliver the exact amount of air (32 psi) and a spray that is focused on the cutting point of a rotary instrument. They are built to work hard but garbage in, garbage out. Your air supply may be the most contaminated component in your office. When was the last time your dental compressor was serviced? When were the filters changed? Think about the inside of a dental compressor tank where it is moist and dark all the time. After several years what are you shooting through that quality handpiece? As handpieces got more presciently engineered biofilm became a factor with waterlines and spray. Equipment maintained routinely will extend the life of your handpieces. Electric Systems suffer similar abuse.

Electric Systems … Bad water passes through all the attachments and the system is controlled by an air actuated electric switch. All the same stuff.

Suggestion … contact the manufacturer of the handpieces you have and request they e-mail there maintenance guide. Have your mechanical equipment serviced annually and consider implementing an automatic handpiece maintenance system into office protocol.  Please feel free to contact me at any time with any questions or concerns.


August 26, 2018 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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