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How to Clean Your Dental Handpiece
A dental handpiece (also known as dental drill) is a precision-built mechanical device used in dental treatment to removes decayed tooth material prior to the insertion of a dental filling. 
 
Dental handpieces can be classified according to the revolutions per minute (rpm) or speed at which they operate. One type is the low- or slow-speed, and the other is referred to as the high-speed contra-angle. Both the low- and high-speed dental handpieces use an air system to operate several parts of the handpiece. The main function of the air is to rotate the air turbine or vane drive. Basically, this means the air system is the main power source for these handpieces. 
 
As a dental assistant, it is your responsibility to care for and sterilize the dental instruments after each patient. Care must be taken in cleaning the dental handpieces because they are delicate and expensive pieces of equipment. There are two methods of cleaning dental handpieces. One is to use an automatic handpiece system. The other method is manually maintainence. 
 
No matter which method you take, the first step in cleaning a dental handpiece is to lightly wash the handpiece under cool running water to remove excess debris.
 
Then if you use an ultrasonic cleaner, place it in the autoclave. When the autoclave is full, run as directed. Put on clean gloves and remove the handpiece from the autoclave when the cycle is over. Run lubrication through the handpiece if it is scheduled to be lubricated. If you are lubricating the handpiece, run it on the air supply line to remove excess lubrication, and wipe with a germicidal wipe afterward. When all this is done, place the sterilized handpiece in a sterile envelope, and place on a tray or in a drawer for the next patient. When you are ready to use the handpiece, replace on the air/water supply line wearing clean gloves.
 
When in a manual condition, following external cleaning, connect the handpiece to the handpiece lubricant spray using the appropriate nozzle for the handpiece you are cleaning. For this air handpiece, we are using a multiflex nozzle.  Spray for approximately 2 seconds. We recommend using a cloth or paper towel wrapped around the handpiece to contain the spray. It is ok if some excess lubrication remains in the dental handpiece.
 
After lubrication, you’ll want to purge your handpiece. Simply connect the handpiece to your multiflex connection, step on the foot petal and purge for 30-40 seconds. The handpiece is now ready for sterilization.
 
Only lubricate the handpiece when it is scheduled to be lubricated. Lubricating more or less often than recommended can damage and wear out the internal parts of the handpiece.

 

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