Surgery handpiece maintenance procedures are crucial to ensure longevity and durability of the life of your handpieces. Many surgeries do not have any internal handpiece maintenance policies and procedures for autoclaving and cleaning handpieces. Maintanace of handpieces is one of the most crucial tasks in running a streamlined and efficient dental surgery.Developing and adhering to handpiece maintenance policies and procedures will help you and your staff keep consistency and ensure accountability. This will assure you that your handpieces will do their job enabling the surgery to run smooth, effecient and effectively.
It is recommended that all high speed push button handpiece, low speed handpieces, prophy handpieces, straight attachments/nosecones, and contra angle attachments and heads be cleaned prior to sterilization. These items can be cleaned by using a mild germicidal detergent/cleaner or any handpiece cleaner available in today’s marketplace. A toothbrush or instrument brush can be used to clean external surfaces of handpieces, especially handpiece threads and knurled grips. Handpieces should be operated 30-40 seconds to purge any cleaning solution before sterilization. Handpieces should not be sterilized with bur or bur blank in the handpiece.
For many years we have known that reusing a dental handpiece without autoclaving it can put patients at risk. The studies surrounding this issue have repeatedly shown that both high speed and low speed hand pieces that are not autoclaved can be a source of cross contamination.1,2 In one study using a low-speed air-driven handpiece used with prophy angles, the investigators assessed contamination inside the nosecone, motor, and prophy angles.When lubricating handpieces more is better than less for handpieces. First make sure you have the right lubricant nozzle attachment for your handpiece. Begin to release lubricant and keep releasing lubricant untill you notice lubricant expelling from the head of the handpiece once this begins to happen check to see what colour the lubricant is. If the colour of the lubricant is a dark and murky colour this means the handpiece has built up gunk residues. Keep releasing lubricant until the colour clears and becomes of a clear consistency. By now you may have lubricant all over the handpiece and on your gloves, this OK don’t be worried all you have to do is wipe down the handpiece with a surgical cloth to remove the excess oil residue on the body of the handpiece. It is a good idea to hold the handpiece firmly with a good grip and wrap the head of the handpiece in a cloth and shake the handpiece to release excess oil. Make sure that the handpiece is operated for at least 12-25 seconds before placing the handpiece in a patients’ mouth.