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A peer-reviewed article by Tija Hunter, CDA, EFDA
Dental handpieces have evolved significantly over the years1. While traditional air-driven handpieces are still preferred by many practitioners, electric handpieces are preferred by many due to the constant torque, reduced noise, and improvements in the smoothness of final preparations2. Regardless of which handpiece is used in practice, proper maintenance and care will elongate the lifespan of the equipment and promote improved functionality. Understanding how to clean and maintain these handpieces and their components properly will help the clinician achieve optimal results. Moreover, it is useful to know when to replace or rebuild handpiece turbines and knowing who to send the handpiece to for repairs are essential for quality and turnaround times. The purpose of this article is to describe protocols for handpiece maintenance, including disinfection, sterilization, and repair.
Upon completion of this educational activity, the participant will be able to:
- Implement proper cleaning and sterilization techniques
- Provide proper lubrication of each handpiece and its components
- Avoid common mistakes
- Provide proper care for a fiber-optic or LED lens
- Demonstrate proper sterilization techniques for various handpieces
- Discuss handpiece turbines and the factors to consider when repair or replacement is necessary
Tija Hunter, CDA, EFDA, is a dental office manager in O’Fallon, Missouri. She is a 1981 graduate of Missouri College and holds certification for expanded functions in Missouri and Illinois. Hunter is a member of the ADAA and an ILDAA board member. She serves as the educational director of the Dental Careers Institute and is the founder of the Dental Assistants Study Club of St. Louis. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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