9 Common Mistakes You Should Avoid Making While Using Your Dental Handpiece
A little bit more than half of all adults visit the dentist twice every single year. Such an incredible demand for valuable dental attention requires a huge number of skilled dentists. The dental handpiece is one of the most important tools that a dentist will use in their daily practice.
As a professional dentist, you finally decide which types of handpieces can fit your demands. You may be happy to purchase the same or a new one after a number of considerations. At the same time, not everyone knows how to best maintain their dental handpiece. There are some common mistakes that some dentists make that shorten the lifespan of these valuable instruments.
1. Dropping the Handpiece
Of course, everyone tries to avoid dropping their instruments. But this is especially important to emphasize with the handpiece. The dental handpiece is fragile and it is also expensive. If you drop the handpiece on the floor or other hard surfaces, it will cause permanent damage.
2. Immersing the Handpiece in Any Liquid to Clean It
Your handpiece should never be immersed into any fluids or placed into an ultra-sonic cleaner. Doing so may cause corrosion inside the handpiece.
3. Using a Damaged and Uncertified Bur
Using a non-ISO standard bur can damage your dental handpiece, which can jeopardize the safety of your patients. Only use carbides or diamonds burs that comply with EN ISO 1797-1 Type 3, which are made of steel or hard metal.
In general, that means having a shaft diameter between 1.59 and 1.60 mm. The overall length will be 21 mm at maximum. The shaft clamping length will be at least 9 mm and the blade diameter will have a maximum of 2 mm.
4. Using Your Thumb to Press the Back Cap to Stop Bur From Spinning
Never try to press the back cap to stop the bur while it is still rotating. Otherwise, you will cause serious damage to your dental handpiece and put your patients in danger. Pressing against the back cap in this way can cause burs to come off and fall right into your patient’s mouth.
5. Using Low-Quality Lubricants
With the proper care of lubrication regularly, you can maximize the lifespan of your dental handpieces while reducing unnecessary repairs and replacements. As lubrication is an essential part of handpieces care and basic maintenance, you should use high-quality lubricants that handpiece manufacturers recommend. This will also help you to get the best performance possible out of your handpiece.
6. Not Inserting the Bur Properly Into the Chuck
If the bur isn’t inserted correctly into the chuck, your handpiece may not work smoothly or it may fall out when the chuck is no longer holding up the bur firmly. Make sure you have your thumb pressing down the push button firmly before inserting the bur. Once you have inserted the bur into the handpiece, let go of the push button.
Then firmly hold the bur with your index finger and thumb and give it a few turns. Try to pull the bur out after turning with some force. This will help you ensure the bur has been inserted correctly.
7. Using the Handpiece With the Existing Odd Noises
Do not operate the handpiece when you hear an odd noise coming from it. The noise could mean a loose internal component or unexpected malfunction. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
8. Sterilizing Handpiece With the Bur Inserted in the Autoclave
Remember to remove the bur and release chuck levers before autoclaving. The springs in the chuck are under pressure when the bur is held. The compressed springs and levers during the sterilization heating may weaken them and cause damage to your handpiece.
It is far better to put a little extra time and care into the sterilization process than to break your dental handpiece and have to replace it regularly.
9. Failing to Clean the Fiber Optics
The buildup of debris may affect light transmission. Remember to regularly clean the glass rod tip with an isopropyl alcohol-immersed cotton swab, and remove any liquid residues by using an absorbent cloth or compressed air to keep lights bright.
To maximize your investment, every little detail on proper operation and maintenance can help you save more money and stay optimal performance each time while you use dental handpieces. Avoid the mistakes mentioned earlier to ensure that they operate smoothly and last longer. This valuable piece of equipment can pay for itself many times over, especially if it does not need frequent replacement. Therefore, it is more than worth taking the time and effort to learn how to keep it maintained to benefit you for as long as possible.