Blog Entries - 2016


Posted on: December 20, 2016

1.What are the design differences between radial and angular

contact ball bearings?

The main difference between radial ball bearings and angular

contact ball bearings  is the retainer type: radial bearings include

a crown retainer whereas angular contact bearings include a full


2. What are the benefits of radial and angular contact ball bearings?

Which design offers better performance and longer life?

Radial ball bearings are more convenient to use because they

may be installed and axially loaded from either side.

Angular contact ball bearings perform better at higher speeds

and operate longer, on average, than radial bearings. Angular contact

bearings can only be axially loaded from one side.

Keep in mind that bearing life can be significantly impacted by other

factors, like whether or not your customers follow appropriate maintenance

protocols, use a quality cleaner/lubricant, or avoid immersing

their handpieces in aggressive or corrosive cleaning chemicals.

3. What is the difference between a ball bearing manufactured with

a phenolic retainer and one manufactured with a Torlon® retainer?

Phenolic is a porous material that may be impregnated with oil

at the factory. During operation, a phenolic retainer provides continuous

bearing lubrication by releasing micro-droplets of oil contained within

its body.

Torlon is not porous and cannot be impregnated with oil.

However, it contains solid lubricating additives, like graphite and

Teflon®, which help to lubricate a dental bearing during conditions of

conventional-lube starvation. Torlon® handles autoclave sterilization

much better than phenolic, which has a tendency to develop micro-cracks

during repeated sterilization.

4. What is the advantage of using a hybrid ceramic ball bearing

 which includes hardened steel rings and silicon nitride

(ceramic) balls, instead of a typical bearing with steel rings and

steel balls?

Ultimately, a hybrid ceramic ball bearing runs cooler and extends

bearing life.

A ceramic ball is approximately 60% lighter than the same size steel

ball. As a result, the lighter ceramic ball-set generates less centrifugal

force when operating at super-high speeds, which minimizes wear on

the raceway of the outer ring.

Surface wear is further reduced because ceramic and steel are such

different materials. Ceramic balls are harder than heat-treated steel

balls, so it’s less likely that external contaminants or bearing wear debris

will damage them and cause the bearing to fail. Also, a hybrid ceramic

bearing operates better than an all-steel ball bearing in low-lubrication


read more …

Rotary Instrument Maintenance

Posted on: November 28, 2016

Rotary Instrument Maintenance


  • Always wear gloves when handling contaminated instruments.
  • Presoak the burs for at least 10 minutes in a disinfection solution designed for dental burs that contains a corrosion inhibitor to minimize the dulling of diamond coating.
  • Use a brush to clean the burs thoroughly if needed.
  • Rinse several times to remove the disinfection solution.
  • Dry the burs and store in a clean and moisture-free environment.

Cleaning with Ultrasonic

  • Burs may be ultrasonically cleaned by inserting them in bur holders.
  • A cycle of 5 minutes is recommended, using a general purpose cleaner.
  • Rinse several times after cleaning.
  • Dry the burs and store in a clean and moisture-free environment.


  • Proper sterilization of instruments is extremely important to eliminate the possibility of cross infection of patients and staff with communicable diseases.
  • Place the burs in sterilization bags.
  • Autoclave the burs for atleast10 minutes at a temperature of 135 C.
  • Dry the burs and store in a clean and moisture-free environment.
  • Use a dry heat sterilizer at 170 C (340 F) for 1hour.When used according to the manufacturer’s instructions, this will not corrode or dull carbide burs.
  • Avoid cold sterilizing solutions as they contain oxidizing agents which may weaken carbide burs.
read more …

Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Bearings

Posted on: October 27, 2016

1. What are the design differences between radial and angular

contact ball bearings?

The main difference between radial ball bearings (fig. 1) and angular

contact ball bearings (fig. 2) is the retainer type: radial bearings include

a crown retainer (fig. 1) whereas angular contact bearings include a full

retainer (fig. 2).

2. What are the benefits of radial and angular contact ball bearings?

Which design offers better performance and longer life?

Radial ball bearings (fig. 1) are more convenient to use because they

may be installed and axially loaded from either side.

Angular contact ball bearings (fig. 2) perform better at higher speeds

and operate longer, on average, than radial bearings. Angular contact

bearings can only be axially loaded from one side.

Keep in mind that bearing life can be significantly impacted by other

factors, like whether or not your customers follow appropriate maintenance

protocols, use a quality cleaner/lubricant, or avoid immersing

their handpieces in aggressive or corrosive cleaning chemicals.

3. What is the difference between a ball bearing manufactured with

a phenolic retainer and one manufactured with a Torlon® retainer?

Phenolic (fig. 1) is a porous material that may be impregnated with oil

at the factory. During operation, a phenolic retainer provides continuous

bearing lubrication by releasing micro-droplets of oil contained within

its body.

Torlon® (fig. 2) is not porous and cannot be impregnated with oil.

However, it contains solid lubricating additives, like graphite and

Teflon®, which help to lubricate a dental bearing during conditions of

conventional-lube starvation. Torlon® handles autoclave sterilization

much better than phenolic, which has a tendency to develop micro-cracks

during repeated sterilization.

4. What is the advantage of using a hybrid ceramic ball bearing

(fig. 3), which includes hardened steel rings and silicon nitride

(ceramic) balls, instead of a typical bearing with steel rings and

steel balls?

Ultimately, a hybrid ceramic ball bearing runs cooler and extends

bearing life.

A ceramic ball is approximately 60% lighter than the same size steel

ball. As a result, the lighter ceramic ball-set generates less centrifugal

force when operating at super-high speeds, which minimizes wear on

the raceway of the outer ring.

Surface wear is further reduced because ceramic and steel are such

different materials. Ceramic balls are harder than heat-treated steel

balls, so it’s less likely that external contaminants or bearing wear debris

will damage them and cause the bearing to fail. Also, a hybrid ceramic

bearing operates better than an all-steel ball bearing in low-lubrication


5. How does sterilization affect open (unshielded) and

shielded ball bearings?

In open bearings the lubricant tends to migrate out of the bearing

during the autoclave cycle (sterilization process). Single-shielded,

double-shielded, and integral-shielded bearings (fig. 4) are better

equipped to protect against external contamination, lubricant

migration, and autoclave steam.

6. What does NHBB/myonic suggest for maintaining a

handpiece after sterilization?

NHBB and myonic suggest that your customers follow the

manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning and lubricating

their dental handpieces after each patient-use and sterilization

procedure (autoclaving).

7. If I receive a grease-packed vs. oiled ball bearing from the

manufacturer, do I need to perform any other lube operation

before using the bearing in a handpiece repair?

In terms of lubrication, NHBB and myonic supply two kinds of

dental bearings: an oiled bearing, which requires intermittent

oil lubrication in the field, and a maintenance-free (grease-packed)

bearing, which is pre-lubricated at the factory with a specified

amount of special grease.

Spraying a maintenance-free bearing with oil will likely flush the

grease from the bearing. Therefore, if oil is used, the bearing

should no longer be treated as maintenance-free; it should be

treated as an oiled bearing that requires intermittent oil lubrication.

Please note that steel and hybrid ceramic bearings that are

lubricated with oil or a small amount of grease for run-in purposes

are ready for turbine installation and initial handpiece operation.

Even still, it’s always a good idea to remind your customers

about the necessity of intermittently lubricating high-speed

bearings according to the recommended handpiece maintenance


8. What is a “lube-free” bearing?

A “lube-free” bearing — or what NHBB and myonic refer to

as a “maintenance-free” bearing — is a bearing that has been

pre-lubricated at the factory with a specified amount of special

grease; it does not require intermittent lubrication with oil.

When working with a maintenance-free bearing, your customers

should keep in mind that most grease lubricants tend to migrate

out of the bearing when an external oil lubricant is used. Once

oil is used to lubricate a maintenance-free bearing, that bearing

must from then on be lubricated with oil.

9. What does NHBB/myonic recommend if a handpiece has

been returned due to bad bearing performance?

If a handpiece has been returned due to bad bearing performance,

it’s best simply to replace the bearings.

Frequently asked questions

about Dental BEARIN GS

fig. 2

Angular Contact

Full Retainer (Torlon®)


fig. 3

Radial Hybrid Ceramic

Crown Retainer (Phenolic)

Single Shield

fig. 4

Angular Contact

Full Retainer (Torlon®)

Integral Shield

read more …

Major Causes Of Handpiece Failure

Posted on: October 14, 2016

          Major Causes of Handpiece Failure

Dental handpieces have many reasons for failure but most common that we see as a repair facility can be prevented if proper care and understanding of the instrument is used.

These are:

  1. Sterilization

  2. Lack of lubrication or proper lubrication

  3. Being dropped

  4. Ran with a bent bur or no bur at all

  5. Using the wrong handpiece for the job

Handpieces must be purged of any debris prior to sterilization. The debris may become hard or gummy after the sterilization process. This will dramatically affect the bearings performance and consequently the handpiece life.

Bearings are made of an inner race, outer race, retainer cage and 7 to 8 solid ball bearings. Each ball is about the size of a pen tip. The bearing balls ride on a grooved surface between the inner and outer raceways. The retainer keeps the balls equally spaced as they rotate around the inner race.

    Outer Ring            Cage                   Ball Bearings         Inner Ring        Complete Bearing                                                         


The ball bearings spin between 350,000-400,000 rpm which is needed for the handpiece to function properly. It is easy to see that any small amount of foreign substance inside the bearing will dramatically affect its ability to perform.

  • When air pressure exceeds the recommended settings of 32-35psi, the bearing will turn greater than 350,000-420,000 rpms that they are rated for. When this happens ball bearings that are held equally spaced by the retainer will start to oval the retainer holes. Eventually one hole will meet the next hole and so on until the retainer will break in half for a complete bearing failure.


                                                              Black Retainer Ring

  • If heavy side pressure on the handpiece is used it will cause the bearing balls to roll vertically in the retainer. The holes will enlarge causing increased radial play of the bur.

  • When handpieces are repeatedly over sterilized and or sterilizer is not temperature calibrated correctly the excessive heat will cause the retainers to creak on top part of the ball hole at the weakest point this will also cause the bearing to fail.

  • If a bur is bent and is used it will cause the bearings to run out of concentricity. It is similar to a tire being out of balance. This will also cause the bearing balls to roll vertically leading to failure. Running without a bur may cause the chuck to back out into the cap.

  • If a handpiece is dropped, the head may become dented. The dent will put pressure on the o-rings and bearings. If the dent is severe enough the bearings may become squeezed and also lead to premature failure.

  • Handpieces must always have a backend gasket and swivel styles must have good pliable O-rings. If a good seal is not made, either air or water will find the path of least resistance and flow where it is not supposed to causing poor performance.


Using the correct handpiece for the job at hand is important. The use of torque style (Large head) handpieces should be used for heavy cutting when needed. Small heads should be used for lighter applications.

It’s not recommended to extend the bur due the chance it may walk out of the handpiece.


How To Properly Lubricate You Handpieces







Motors & Highspeed        Prophy Angle              Sheath


Lubricate second largest hole         Lubricate top middle and bottom     Lubricate both ends of Sheath



Heads & Prophy Angles

Take them apart and lube the top, middle and bottom. Re-install. We recommend adding lubricate 2-3 times per week based on use.

Sheath & Contra Angles

Lubricate the top and bottom with 1-2 drops of oil. Sheaths do not have to be oiled every day. We recommend adding oil 2-3 times per week based on use.

Low Speed Lubrication

Lubricate air intake with 2-3 drops of oil after each use. Never autoclave a detachable motor.

Highspeed Lubrication

Lubricate air intake with 2-3 drops of oil. Add one drop into the chuck also. Highspeeds should be lubricated every time before use. Be sure to expel excess lubricant before you put them into the autoclave.

Always clean the surface with alcohol (Do not use harsh cleaners, or ultrasonic cleaner)


     Common Handpiece Maintenance Mistakes


  1. Using a chemical wipe –down on handpieces before sterilizing: This may cause harmful reactions when the handpiece is subject to heat.

  2. Using an ultrasonic cleaner: Handpieces should never be immersed in any fluids.

  3. Lubricating in the wrong hole. The drive airline leads directly to the turbine.

  4. Not applying enough lubricant- It is important to ensure oil is getting to the bearings, by seeing oil leave the handpiece.

  5. Not running the handpiece prior to autoclaving-failure to operate the handpiece following lubrication will gum up the turbine and excess oil gets baked into the bearings.

  6. Leaving the bur in the chuck during autoclaving-This shorten the life of the auto chuck and will lead to build up of debris in the chuck.

  7. Failing to maintain autoclaves-If the autoclave is not properly cleaned, buildup can occur that contaminates the entire system, including the handpiece.

Handpieces are precision instruments but will not last forever. They will wear out over time. If proper care and regular maintenance are preformed they should provide several years of excellent service.





read more …


Posted on: September 26, 2016

Dental assistants have many important responsibilities. Their tasks include patient care, infection control, inventory control, and equipment maintenance. On top of all of the daily duties, there are periodic chores to do weekly, monthly, annually, or at other intervals. With all there is to do in a dental office, it’s easy to omit maintenance in areas that are highly visible to patients. Here is a list of things you can do to keep your clinical area in top shape and looking great.

Dental chairs

The dental chair and operator stools should be cleaned periodically. Use mild soap and water and clean all surfaces, including the chair base assembly. Upholstery on dental chairs and stools can become cracked and worn over time. Harsh disinfectants can contribute to discoloration or damage. Cracked or damaged upholstery is unsightly and makes cleaning and disinfection difficult. Using plastic barriers can extend the life of the upholstery. There’s no need to disinfect surfaces that are protected by impervious barriers, unless the barriers are compromised or the chair surfaces become contaminated during barrier removal. Contact the chair manufacturer for recommendations on how to keep the upholstery in top condition.

The dental unit

In addition to handpiece, water, and evacuation line maintenance, the dental unit should be checked to make sure that all hoses are free of leaks, dust, and debris. Refer to the owner’s manual for information on what type of maintenance is recommended and how often it should be scheduled. This might include checking air and water pressure and replacing o-rings and filters as necessary. Some dentists like to perform these minor maintenance procedures, while others prefer to bring in a dental equipment specialist. Either way, it is a good idea to have regular maintenance performed on items that need attention.

Overhead light

The overhead light that illuminates the oral cavity should be cleaned according to the manufacturer’s directions. The light becomes hot during use, so be sure to allow the lens to cool before cleaning. Touching a warm lens with a damp cloth can cause the lens to crack. Use a mild detergent and a soft cloth to wipe the lens free of smudges and debris. The reflector can be scratched and damaged very easily by improper cleaning. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely when it is necessary to clean the reflector. Also, make sure there is a spare bulb on hand.

The X-ray unit

When cleaning and dusting the X-ray unit, fully extend the arm assembly holding the X-ray head. Look closely for debris, stains, or other contaminates. If the arm assembly moves or drifts without being touched, it should be tightened. A loose arm assembly can compromise X-ray accuracy and accidentally drift onto the patient’s head, causing injury. X-ray aprons should be checked periodically for cracks or tears. Aprons should be hung rather than folded because folding can crease the protective lining and cause unseen cracks, through which the patient could be exposed to radiation.

Appearance of the treatment room

Working in the same treatment rooms every day can make people immune to signs of wear, age, and disrepair of furniture, equipment, and cabinetry. This can send the wrong message to patients. Our patients expect us to be detail-oriented and our work environment should reflect that. To see your office through the eyes of the patient, take a few moments to look closely at the treatment room. Inspect the surfaces of counter tops, drawers, and shelves for stains or damage. Sit in the dental chair and look around. Are there areas that need cleaning or repair? Next, lie back in the dental chair and look at the ceiling. Are there water stains, broken ceiling tiles, chipped paint, or cobwebs? Finally, look at the flooring for areas that need attention. If the operatory has carpet, are there visible stains? Is carpet cleaning regularly scheduled?

The dental assistant can perform most of the maintenance chores mentioned here. Dental assistants can make a big difference in the appearance of the treatment rooms by focusing on areas that are sometimes overlooked.

read more …


Posted on: September 5, 2016

Not attractive, but essential

Your air compressor is critical to your practice. Here are some facts you need to know about this important piece of your office.

Compared to beautiful office designs, state-of-the-art furnishings, and technologically advanced equipment, the air compressor is not the most attractive component of the dental office. But the role it plays in every smooth-running dental office cannot be overstated — just ask any doctor who has experienced a failing compressor. The air compressor, along with the vacuum system, is the heart of the dental office.

"If there's anything dentists should have the best of, it should be the air compressor and vacuum system, because they keep you working.

How do compressors work?

This often-underrated workhorse compresses, cleans, dries and stores air, which drives handpieces and operates dental units and syringes.

Your compressor performs by lowering the temperature of the compressed air through an after cooler system, removing impurities from the compressed air via an inline filtration system and removing the moisture from the air through a drying system before it reaches your handpiece.

The ability of the compressor to accomplish these tasks determines its performance. Your practice is dependent on a steady, reliable supply of high-quality compressed air. According to Wittenberg, the consequences of not keeping an eye on your compressor are severe. "If this component fails, your office ceases to function," he said. "And your productivity is out the window."

Common problems

The three most common compressor problems Wittenberg has seen in his nearly 30 years with Patterson are dryer failure; lack of air volume, which occurs when the compressor is too small to handle the needs of the office; and air leaks that can lead to a multitude of problems.

Get the right compressor size

A properly utilized and maintained compressor generally lasts 10 to 15 years. Wittenberg said dentists often expand their office space or take on an associate without considering how their compressor will manage the additional workload. "An overworked air compressor won't last as long because it's working harder than it should," he said.

Plus, an overworked compressor will often have a negative effect on compressed air dryness, as the air drying system cannot keep up with an overworked compressor. Therefore, handpieces and dental procedures may be adversely affected due to the "wetter" compressed air.

Click here to enlarge image

I suggest rotating the once-a-week responsibility of checking the air compressor among staff members. "Listen for noises – an unfamiliar sound may indicate a problem," he said.

One way to reduce the odds of your compressor shutting down your office is to purchase a twin head system. "If one air compressor head goes bad, the other will get the office through until a service technician arrives, so there's no loss of productivity. Until recent years, this system was primarily used in rural communities due to the travel distance required for service technicians to fix a compressor problem.

When is it time for a new compressor?

If you have an older compressor, periodically monitor its performance. Efficiency is based on the duty cycle, or time it takes to pressurize the tank from zero to maximum pounds per square inch. Most manufacturers have suggested times for a compressor to pressurize, as well as recommended times to cycle from minimum to maximum pressure.

If your compressor is running too long to maintain pressure, there is either a leak in the system or the compressor is becoming less efficient or "weaker."

Also, monitor quality of air coming from the compressor. Over time, a compressor passing more oil, moisture or debris may indicate the compressor is failing and must be evaluated. You can check to see if the air is clean by doing a simple test using a small mirror. Just blow air from your handpiece tubing onto the mirror. Any debris, oil, moisture or contaminates emitted will clearly show up on the mirror surface.

Which air compressor should I choose?

The key factor — often overlooked by doctors — is number of users. "It's better to meet your user needs or be a little bit over than to have less and risk problems later," he said. A compressor system that is the right size for your practice is more efficient and will last longer.

Oil-less vs. lubricated

There are two types of compressors: oil-less and oil-lubricated. If maintenance is not routine at your office, an oil-less compressor may be the better choice.

Air from an improperly maintained lubricated compressor can become more contaminated over time. Oil vapor acts much like bad cholesterol in the body: components will become clogged or damaged. This oil vapor can negatively impact health, dental instruments and restorations. In addition to demanding regular maintenance, oil compressors require scheduled oil changes. Since they expel oil constantly, oil levels must be checked regularly.

Oil-less compressors also require routine maintenance, including replacing filters.  Oil-less models. "These will be the industry standard," he said. "The new mechanics are better and last longer, and there's very little maintenance."

 Some oil-less compressors may be slightly noisier, but generally these units are housed in a soundproof room or in the basement where noise is not a factor. Soundproof compressor covers are also available. Several of the newer oil-less designs are actually quieter than oil-lubricated counterparts.

Price vs. value

The next important issue is price. Reviewing the benefits and the recommended size compressor for your practice will help you determine which is the best value.

Lubricated compressors cost less. Although in the long run, the cost of oil and wear on handpiece turbines, if the compressor is not properly maintained, may make oil-less compressors more cost-effective. Remember to ask if the compressor you're thinking about buying comes complete and ready to install.

Maintaining your compressor...and peace of mind

Air compressors are designed to provide years of trouble-free, reliable service. Even so, certain components do require periodic attention and service. Failure to properly maintain your compressor can lead to an unexpected breakdown, possibly leaving you in the costly and embarrassing predicament of sending patients home while you wait for service.

If you have a lubricated compressor, it's important to regularly check the oil level and change the oil once a year. Failing to add oil can ruin your compressor. Intake filters will also need to be changed.

In the case of compressor failure, Wittenberg suggests checking your breakers to make sure one hasn't popped. With a twin system, reset your breaker and turn on one head. If it pops again, you know which head is the problem. In this twin system, both heads should run at the same time, unless a problem forces you to use one head temporarily until service arrives.

Service the compressor at manufacturer and vendor intervals; high-quality air can only come from a compressor that's properly maintained and serviced. Service should include checks for leaks in the air line system and a check of the compressor duty cycle during regular office hours. Air leaks cause the compressor to run more than needed, which can shorten its life.

 Each of the top brands of air compressors is worthy of being called the best. What sets these brands apart from the rest? "Reliability and quality of the product and if it does what it says it can do," he said.

Remember, to maximize the life of your compressor, follow user guidelines. "The big thing, is size. Make sure that what you have downstairs can supply what you need upstairs."

read more …

A Review Of Electric Handpieces

Posted on: August 19, 2016


There is a strange mystery related to electric handpieces. In Europe and Asia, dentists have embraced this technology for years. These dentists wouldn’t think of going back to air-driven handpieces. The advances in electric handpieces have been driven mainly by European (especially German) dentists. Only in recent years has the electric handpiece been discovered in the United States, even though we have been using electric lab handpieces for years. We are familiar with the constant torque on these handpieces, but somehow it has been slow to transfer to the treatment room.

The most important change to my practice in the past 10 years has been the introduction of the electric handpiece. It has allowed me to do better dentistry for my patients. My tooth preparations are more precise, and done with less noise and vibration - another benefit for the patient. With the latest versions of electric motors and handpieces, the noise level has become less and less - sometimes I check to be sure the bur is turning! Most of my patients comment on the difference in the sound; that it makes their dental experience much better. This low level of sound is of great benefit to the dental team members’ ears. I predict that the dental team of the future will no longer suffer hearing loss due to high-pitched handpieces.


The most amazing change is constant torque. I can still recall the belt-driven handpiece. It was cumbersome and slow but it did have torque. The switch to air-driven handpieces required a learning curve. We all had to learn a technique that required a “feather touch” to cut tooth structure. This was necessary to allow the handpiece to reach its full speed, which produced greater torque. The torque of the air-driven handpiece has advanced over the years, along with many other improvements.

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The electric handpiece has a fully adjustable bur speed, which can be adjusted with a dial or the foot control. The highest bur speed is 200,000 rpm. At this speed, the electric handpiece produces 60 W of cutting power, while an air-driven handpiece running at top speed produces less than 20 W. This simply means that the electric delivers constant torque. The bur will not stop or slow down, no matter what material you are cutting, through all the speed ranges. The electric will still cut tooth structure at 5,000 rpm - try that with an air-driven handpiece.


For years we have all had to deal with bur chatter, especially when cutting through different types of metal, and especially when cutting cast crowns. Have you ever experienced this chatter in your own mouth? I can tell you from my own experience that it is not pleasant at all. As I had a gold crown removed, I realized that this is the same thing my patients feel when I do this procedure with my air-driven handpiece. I remember thinking there must be a better way. Chatter is caused by bur wobble, which is caused by ball bearing wear in the air turbine, which is supported by O-rings. The older the bearings, the more the bur can wobble. The electric handpiece provides greater bur concentricity because electrics rely on solid gear-to-gear contact and rigid bearing support. Therefore, the bur does not wobble, and chatter is eliminated. This results in a truer, more definite cutting instrument, which allows you to routinely produce more precise margins faster with much less effort. In addition, the bur is in contact with the tooth for a shorter time, which means that less heat is produced, which leads to less sensitivity. This function of the electric handpiece is referred to as “milling” as opposed to “chopping” the tooth. The result is a tooth preparation that has smoother walls and more precise margins in less time and with less stress for the dentist and patient. Your patients will love spending less time in the chair!


A common complaint from dentists of both genders is that the electric handpiece is too heavy; too cumbersome. I have found that it is all a matter of balance and concentration. If you learn to balance the electric motor in the area between your thumb and index finger, you will find that weight is no longer an issue. I know many times I get impatient and unwilling to break through the learning curves to master a technique. But when I have persevered, I was the winner as well as a better dentist. I have watched dentists struggle with the electric handpiece in an exhibit booth. I hand them a tooth and ask them to cut an ideal Class II prep or crown prep. When they are finished, I ask if the handpiece was heavy and, invariably, they say no. In other words, the weight of the handpiece is more of a “head” issue - an issue of perception.


When you visit a booth at a dental show to look at an electric handpiece, the only way to confirm everything I have told you is to try it. Usually there is a piece of bone or a tooth to cut on. Ask for a new diamond, pick up the bone, and sink the bur about a quarter inch (6.5 mm) into the bone and then move it as quickly as you can in different directions. I usually write my name, so if you find “Joe” in the bone, you’ll know I was there. If you are given a tooth, try a crown prep, but instead of shaving the tooth, sink the bur into the enamel about a millimeter and continue around the tooth at that level. Really give the electric a good trial while you are at the booth.


What should you look for when buying your electric handpiece? Most of the head sizes are the same. With the different brands, look for a handpiece that allows you to do all procedures with two handpieces. Look for the best range of speeds on both the high and low speeds. Look for a high-speed range of 1,000 to 200,000 rpm, and a low-speed range of 100 to 40,000 rpm (yes, the bur will still cut at 100 rpm). Your low-speed handpiece also should allow you to do endodontic procedures with torque control and auto reverse. The electric motor should be brushless and sealed to allow for autoclave sterilizing.

The handpiece should have more than adequate air and water spray ports that are easily adjustable. This is important not only for cooling, but also for rapid removal of debris produced by cutting tooth structure and metals. I recommend multiple ports for obvious reasons.

With increased use of extraoral lighting, fiberoptic illumination is becoming less necessary, but it is still a convenient light source. If you include fiberoptics, look for a control system that will allow you to easily turn it off. As you have learned with air-driven handpieces, it is important to have a 360-degree swivel attachment between the handpiece and the hose to eliminate the drag and stress of fighting a hose. When I am prepping teeth, I want the handpiece to feel like it is not attached to anything. Look for this kind of innovation. I know it exists because mine is that way. A quick disconnect feature is very important for the sterilization process. The handpiece should have a push-button chuck for convenient bur changing. You don’t want to be looking for a bur changer or messing with a latch. Be sure to carefully follow the maintenance directions from the manufacturer. Do not shortcut the process! Also, carefully follow the manufacturer specifications for handpiece and motor sterilization including type, temperature, and time.

All electric handpieces are quickly retrofitted to existing units in treatment areas. Simply disconnect an air-driven handpiece from its tubing connector, and then reconnect the tubing connector, which is usually at the back of the electric motor control box. That will transfer air and water to the electric handpiece. Now, place the electric motor in the empty hanger and it is ready to go, operated by the existing foot control on the floor. The setup is very convenient, and in less than five minutes you are ready to go. Look for a remote-control device for the motor control unit that can be conveniently placed near your treatment area.

read more …

Autoclaving Handpiece, Attachments And Motors

Posted on: July 25, 2016
Autoclaving handpieces, attachments and motors
It's hard not to be ambivalent about autoclaving. On the one hand, it is necessary to prevent the spread of disease. On the other hand, it makes work for us, but in the end, it makes our work so much harder. We have been seeing some frequent autoclave related problems, and we just wanted to share.

All handpieces and motors which are designed to be autoclaved should be autoclaved at NO MORE than 135deg C (275deg F). Normal spoor testing will not tell you if the temp is too high. If you see that "cooked look" in a customer's handpieces, suggest he/she get their autoclave checked for Hi temp, or you can get a LAG thermometer which registers the maximum temp and test it yourself. (For those who are interested that is available from RPI part number RPT113)
  1. Moisture is always a killer in handpieces. We are seeing a large number of implant motors and surgical handpieces where water is running out when we take them apart. Autoclaves should have a dry cycle where the instruments are left long enough to dry out as they cool down. We have heard of people taking things out of the autoclave and running them under the faucet to cool them down so they can use them. Also, when using sterile-pouches, we think the paper side should always be facing up to improve drying. This is up for debate however. More than one autoclave manufacturer states in their manual that the paper side should be down. Now, I do not know what they base their recommendations on, but I have seen so many autoclave bags come out of the autoclave plastic face up with little drops of water condensed on the inside of the plastic that I cannot imagine there is a good reason not to put the paper side up. 
  2. In the case of surgical implant motors, they always come with a sterilization plug that keeps moisture from getting into the motor through the end where the attachment goes on. They should never be autoclaved without this plug. Some also have a cap for the connector which also should be used to reduce corrosion of the connector pins. If there is no cover for the connector, it is necessary to maintain the connector by scrubbing the connector pins with a soft brush and alcohol.    
  3. Proper lubrication is also essential to surviving the autoclave process. If you see handpieces come back with that telltale black powder inside, then they are not lubricating enough. If they have that amber coating that looks like varnish, then they are leaving too much oil, and they need to blow them out longer. If they have a machine to do this like an Assistina or a Quattro Care, then these problems mean they need to have their machine checked. If they lubricate manually, they should have a device to blow the excess oil out of the handpiece or attachment.
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Dental Equipment Routine Maintenance

Posted on: July 6, 2016



At the beginning of the day:

  • Turn on compressor, vacuum and main water lines (you should have a solenoid on your water).
  • Check fluid levels in sterilizer and x-ray processor (topping off if necessary) and then turn them on.
  • Run a cleaning sheet through your processor (if such is available for it).
  • Turn on delivery systems and open oxygen and nitrous tanks (if you have a central system).
  • Check ultrasonic cleaner solution.
  • If using self-contained water systems and air purging every night, run handpieces and depress water buttons on air/water syringes to establish water line pressure.
  • Refill water bottles of self-contained systems.
  • Verify previous day’s computer back-up and install next generation of media (i.e. the next drive/cartridge etc. in sequence).

At the end of the day:

  • Clean the sterilizer door gasket with a soft cloth and mild (non-antibacterial) liquid soap.
  • Clean out or change chairside vacuum traps and run vacuum system cleaner through all vacuum lines. Be certain to securely replace the lid of the trap after checking screen on trap.
  • Empty waste bottle/tank on sterilizers equipped with one.
  • Turn off all equipment as above – delivery systems, oxygen and nitrous tanks, sterilizer, processor, compressor, vacuum, and main water line. If using a Dent-X processor, remove the cover and slide the covers of the solution trays to the side allowing vapors to escape.
  • Dry water lines by purging with air (if using self-contained water systems).


  • Clean interior and exterior of sterilizer(s), including reservoir. Check autoclave safety valve by pulling on the ring with a pliers (it should spring back).
  • Check sterilizer filters and perform a spore test.
  • Verify sterilizer is level.
  • Check chairside trap screens and lid o’rings for wear and replace if necessary. Be certain to securely replace the lid of the trap afterward.
  • Check and replace or clean out central vacuum and main water line filters.
  • If present, check amalgam separator.
  • Disassemble and lubricate vacuum valves (HVE and SE).
  • Clean ultrasonic cleaner.
  • Clean operating light reflectors and lens shields (make sure reflectors are cool first).
  • Check oil on oil-lubricated compressors and drain compressor tank. An auto-drain can also be installed on your compressor to drain as needed automatically.
  • Clean processor racks according to manufacturer’s instructions. You may need to let them dry over the weekend as well.
  • Empty and clean out bottles of self-contained water systems.
  • Clean boiling chamber of water distiller


  • Perform extended cleaning of x-ray processor per manufacturer’s recommendations. Special cleaning solution may be required as well.
  • Check/clean plaster trap
  • Check emergency resuscitation equipment
  • Lubricate joints in operating lights, sterilizer door hinges, air/water syringe buttons, & other similar items around the office.
  • Clean Pan or Ceph x-ray screens with a screen cleaner.
  • Using heat-resistant PPE, check sterilizer safety valve while under pressure (see Sterilizer Maintenance) & check sterilizer door for plumb.
  • Check air and water filters in junction boxes.



  • Check filters on compressor and central vacuum.
  • Check compressor oil (if oil lubricated)
  • Check tubing on delivery systems, nitrous, and vacuum as well as handpiece gaskets and/or coupler o’rings for signs of wear.
  • Clean model trimmer wheel and drain lines.
  • Lubricate drive chain on Dent-X processors.
  • Check hydraulic fluid of patient chair.
  • Check life of computer battery back-up (UPS).
  • Test smoke alarms.
  • Verify computer back-up by restoring from a back-up.


  • Change sterilizer door gasket, bellows and fill filters.
  • Change oil (if oil lubricated) of compressor.
  • Check power cords for all electronic equipment around the office and replace any that are frayed or worn.
  • Have fire extinguisher(s) inspected.
  • Observe a complete sterilization cycle looking for any signs of malfunction such as a steam leak.
  • Conduct staff OSHA training
  • Review emergency procedures with staff- how to handle patient emergencies as well as what to do in case of fire etc.
  • Have X-ray equipment inspected, calibrated, and certified (requirements vary, may be as infrequently as once every 5 years)

In general:

  • Be observant. Note any equipment which exhibits unusual behavior such as loud or abnormal noises or an unusual appearance/discoloration.
  • Keep owner’s manuals for all equipment in a secure place.
  • Consult owner’s manuals for manufacturer’s recommended maintenance and supplement the list above accordingly.
  • Check with local authorities for your requirements. Some things (for example spore tests) may have a different frequency requirement in your area. We have attempted to list such things at the most common interval but there can be wide variation.
  • Be aware of seasonal tendencies for extremes of heat, cold, & humidity and the effect these extremes can have on specific pieces of equipment. For example, replacing compressor dryer desiccant is commonly required in the summer months.
  • It may be helpful to have primary equipment wired to a master switch to simplify turning on in the morning and off at night (just one switch to throw).
  • Be mindful of critical equipment and always have spares of the following on hand:
  1. 1.    Light bulbs for operating lights and curing lights
  2. 2.    Filters for air and water lines
  3. 3.    Replacement screens/traps for central vacuum
  4. 4.    Fuses for chairs, sterilizer, processor, etc.
  5. 5.    Hydraulic fluid (if you have hydraulic chairs)
  6. 6.    Compressor oil
  7. 7.    Have a back-up plan in case of failure of compressor, vacuum or sterilizer. Having a smaller secondary unit on hand that can be “hot-swapped” temporarily can keep you up and running.


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What You Should Look For When Purchasing Dental Handpieces

Posted on: June 23, 2016

Checklist – What you should look for when purchasing dental handpieces:

  • Branded products
    Only buy products made by established manufacturers. You will often see special offers from cheap manufacturers. The products from such suppliers are generally of poor quality and usually do not comply with regulations and standards.
  • After-Sales Service
    Comprehensive service of medical devices retains their value and extends their service life. Qualified service centres can also offer prompt assistance in case of problems with the product.
  • Warranty
    Compare warranty periods and find out which components are not covered by the warranty. Wear parts such as ball bearings are often not covered by the warranty.
  • Always compare head sizes with burs
    Small heads often lead to a quick decision for a product, but when a bur is clamped in place they can look quite different.
  • LED light
    Light is not simply light: find out what light values are achieved and, if possible, compare the size of the illumination field. The size of the illuminated area is particularly restricted with glass rods. LEDs integrated into the instrument head are the ideal solution.
  • Size and weight
    Ergonomics is an important factor. The use of titanium has not yet solved this problem. You will be surprised at the low instrument weights that can be achieved with other materials.
  • Power and speed
    Don’t be distracted by high idle speeds and high power specifications. A test of the power under load will quickly show whether the product has sufficient power or not.
  • Care – the alpha and omega
    A reliable unit from the same manufacturer is a guarantee that the instruments will be correctly maintained. Machines need lubrication to function correctly – or would you accept compromises with your car?
  • Sterilization
    Careful selection of a sterilizer can save money. Sterilizers with vacuum eliminate residual moisture in the instruments and extend the service life.
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Handpiece Maintence Tips 101

Posted on: June 5, 2016


    • Introduced into the handpiece through dirty air and water every time air pressure is released.
    • The best way to remove it is to flush the handpiece between patients using a handpiece cleaner and lubricant.
    • Blow out the handpiece using compressed air to remove loose debris, cleaner, and lubricant before sterilization (a handpiece should never be run without a bur!).


Air Pressure

  • Excessive air pressure (exceeding 40 PSI) could cause damage to turbine bearings, reducing the performance of the turbine.
  • When handpiece performance is reduced at 35 PSI the turbine should be rebuilt or replaced.


Sterilization Tips

  • Never exceed 275ºF (135ºC) during the sterilization cycle; use the lowest temperature possible while still achieving proper sterilization of instruments.
  • Subjecting bearings to higher temperatures can cause the materials to break down and crack.
  • Handpieces should only be used at room temperature, not hot.
  • Never cool handpieces under cold running water; quick cool downs are bad for turbine components.
  • If sterilizers are not maintained properly, excessive debris will bake onto the turbine and result in premature failure.
  • Never use a dry heat sterilizer; the excessive heat will damage bearings.


Air and Water Supplies

  • Must remain free of debris.
  • Filters should be used and checked often.
  • Compressor oils and carbons must be filtered from the air supply.
  • An air dryer should also be used and maintained as required.


Push Button Spindle Maintenance

  • Push button spindles are made of metal components and require small amounts of lubricant and periodic flushing for an extended life span.
  • Use a handpiece cleaner or combination cleaner/ lubricant (lubricating alone is not enough).
  • Spray handpiece cleaner and lubricant up into the front of the spindle; an adapter may be required.


  • Then flush the handpiece to remove debris from the handpiece head that has been introduced from flushing the spindle.
  • Doing this will help remove debris from within the spindle assembly, which will prevent the spindle from sticking open or failing.


Lube Free or Maintenance Free Turbines (Beware)

  • Only the bearings are maintenance free!
  • The bearings are pre-greased at the factory and shielded to help protect them from debris and the removal of lubricants during use.
  • Other turbine components still need to be maintained; O-rings will dry out without lubricants and push button spindles require lubrication and flushing.


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Posted on: May 12, 2016

What you need to know when it's time to look for a sonic or ultrasonic scaler

Decision #1: Do you want a sonic or ultrasonic scaler?

Sonic scalers, like the Titan®, are small handpiece-size devices. They sit conveniently in the delivery unit and hook up to a conventional air/water handpiece connector. Research has shown that the tip of a sonic scaler moves in an orbital pattern, tracing the letter "O" as it vibrates at approximately 3,000-9,000 cycles per second.

Ultrasonic scalers involve a power-unit box that sits on the counter. They must be connected to a water source and they plug into an electrical wall outlet. Ultrasonics vibrate at much higher frequencies than sonic scalers (25,000 cycles per second or higher). The pattern of vibration is much more linear than the sonic scaler, tracing the letter "I" or a very narrow ellipse as it vibrates.

The primary difference between sonic and ultrasonic scalers is power. The sonic scaler is a low-power device that removes plaque and fresh calculus. However, it is not terribly effective on heavy calculus, and it is useless on flinty old accretions that can be easily removed with an ultrasonic scaler.

There is an additional advantage to the ultrasonic over sonic. High-frequency ultrasonic tip vibration creates cavitation bubbles in the fluid. When these bubbles contact a surface, they collapse and release energy. Studies have suggested that the energy created by the collapsing bubbles is sufficient to destroy a spirochaete cell membrane. In other words, the ultrasonic spray itself may be lethal to the motile pathogens frequently implicated in periodontal disease.

Though ultrasonic scalers are generally more expensive than sonic scalers, there are some notable exceptions. For example (as we write this), the popular Titan S sonic scaler costs $548 in a mail order catalog. As you can see in the table later in the article, several ultrasonic scalers feature price-tags lower than that.

If you want an ultrasonic scaler, read on.

Decision #2: Do you want a magnetostrictive or piezo ultrasonic scaler?

In magnetostrictive devices (Cavitron®, Parkell, Coltene), tip vibrations are created by a resonating stack of metal strips on the back of the insert.* In piezo devices (EMS, Satelec, Amdent), the vibrations are produced by oscillations of a quartz crystal in the handpiece.

Tip oscillation: For years, it has been generally believed that piezo and magnetostrictive devices differ slightly in the pattern traced by their tips. It is suggested that magnetostrictive tips trace an elongated ellipse while piezo tips trace a linear back-and-forth pattern. Magnetostrictive advocates claim that their elliptical motion is more effective because it generates pathogen-destroying cavitation bubbles 360 degrees around the tip. In contrast, the piezo design creates them only at the two ends of their back-and-forth cycle. Piezo advocates claim that their linear oscillation makes the piezo design less likely to abrade the tooth. If there is a difference in tip vibration between piezo and magnetostrictive designs, it's very subtle — and probably without the clinical importance we manufacturers ascribe to it.

From our work designing and manufacturing ultrasonics, the pattern of tip oscillation appears to be influenced far more by the geometry of the tip itself than by the design of scaler that powers it. For example, S-shaped tips like left- and right-curving perio tips feature an elliptical vibration, but tips with a simple curve, like the Cavitron TFI® and Parkell Universal tip, are linear. In a paper presented at a recent research meeting, independent researchers at the University of Kiel and the Max Planck Institute reported that the vibration pattern of a magnetostrictive scaler seemed virtually identical to that of a piezo scaler. But that isn't to say there aren't significant differences between piezo and magnetostrictive scalers.

Heat: The metal stack in the magnetostrictive scaler generates heat. To prevent overheating, you must scale with plenty of water irrigation. The quartz crystal in the piezo scaler doesn't generate much heat. This means you can run the device with very little water irrigation. On the other hand, because the piezo handpiece doesn't heat the water, patients may complain of cold sensitivity. Note: Some piezo devices feature a separate water warmer to improve patient comfort.

Tips design: Most piezo scalers use proprietary tips designed specifically for that specific brand of scaler. If the manufacturer of your scaler doesn't offer the tip shape you want, or if the scaler manufacturer goes out of business, you're out of luck.

Manufacturers of magnetostrictive scalers would like you to use their inserts in their machines, but the fact is that virtually all brands are interchangeable. Any 25KHz Parkell insert will work in any 25KHz Cavitron scaler, and vice versa. That means owners of magnetostrictive scalers aren't married to a single supplier for their inserts.

Though piezo and magnetostrictive designs each have passionate advocates, both do a fine job of calculus removal. When an independent research association clinically rated every scaler available in the United States, there were piezo and magnetostrictive devices at the top and bottom of the rankings. What's the moral here? It's not whether a scaler is magnetostrictive or piezo that determines whether it's effective, but rather the design of the entire device.

Decision #3: Do you want a 30KHz scaler or 25KHZ scaler?

The number of times the scaler tip vibrates each second is called its "frequency." Most magnetostrictive scalers are either 25KHz (25,000 cycles per second) or 30KHz (30,000 cycles per second.) Studies have proven conclusively that there's no real difference in calculus-removing ability between the two frequencies. However, 30KHz scaling is somewhat quieter, so operators and patients tend to prefer the higher frequency.

Operating frequency is generally hard-wired into the scaler. For example, the Cavitron SPS operates at 30KHz, and only at 30KHz (a 25KHz insert won't even fit into the handle). On the other hand, if you stick a 30KHz insert into a 25KHz device like the Cavitron Bobcat or the Parkell Clean Machine, it'll just spit water, so if you upgrade from a 25KHz scaler to a pure 30KHz device like the Cavitron SPS, you won't be able to use your old 25KHz inserts.

The Parkell TurboSENSOR and Coltene Whaledent Biosonic power both 25KHz and 30KHz inserts. This allows you to use your old 25KHz inserts in the new scaler, and then replace them with 30KHz inserts as they wear out.

  • Clean Machine™ 25KHz — Parkell
  • Clean Machine™ Manual/Auto — Parkell
  • Cavitron Bobcat® — Dentsply
  • Cavitron Select™ — Dentsply
  • Acclean 25KHz — Henry Schein
  • Cavitron® SPS™ — Dentsply
  • Clean Machine™ 30KHz — Parkell
  • Acclean 30KHz — Henry Schein
  • Cavitron Select™ SPS — Dentsply
  • TurboSENSOR™ — Parkell
  • Turbo 25/30™ Two-Handpiece — Parkell
  • BioSonic™ — Whaledent

Decision #4: Do you want an auto-tune or manual-tune scaler?

This question is relevant only if you plan to do extensive low-power subgingival scaling. Early ultrasonic scalers were all manually tuned. When auto-tune scalers were introduced in the late 1960s, they pretty much drove the manual-tune devices off the market. As a result, most manually tuned scalers are now made by specialty manufacturers catering to a niche market.


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Cleaning Or Disinfection: What's Right For The Suction Lines?

Posted on: April 27, 2016


The evacuation system is an essential component of most dental procedures. When it is functioning properly, life is good for the clinical team and patients. But a decrease in volume causes stress and inefficiency for everyone.

Maintaining the system, as with most of the equipment in a dental facility, is critical to proper functioning. Cleaning the suction lines and changing the solids collectors (traps) must be performed regularly to maintain proper functionality. But there seems to be some confusion as to whether to clean or disinfect the suction lines -- or perhaps both. If you use products that may be incompatible with the evacuation system or that may cause a reaction with contents of the solids collectors, it is important to understand the appropriate protocol.

Research has shown that there is a small possibility of cross-contamination from backflow from the low-volume suction lines used for the saliva ejector. The saliva ejector is most commonly used in hygiene treatment rooms, where hygienists will instruct patients to close their lips tightly around the saliva ejector tip to efficiently remove fluids.

The first study that demonstrated the backflow potential was published in 1993. As recently as 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a guideline about the use of saliva ejectors. The CDC stated that patients should not be instructed to close their lips tightly around the saliva ejector, and that suction lines should be disinfected daily.

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Suction lines in the hygiene treatment rooms should be cleaned every day with an evacuation system cleaner to remove blood and debris, and a disinfectant that is compatible with the evacuation system should be run through the tubing. The low-volume suction lines should be disinfected between patients.

Using a small amount of a waterline cleaner/disinfectant between patients is a good choice since the waterline cleaner/disinfectants are compatible with the evacuation system. Additional information regarding this guideline is available at

It is always a good idea to check with the manufacturer of the evacuation system to verify which disinfectants are compatible with the system. (See below regarding chlorine-based products.) Another option is to use a saliva ejector tip that has a backflow prevention mechanism built in. Two such devices are the Safety Saliva Ejector from Crosstex and the Safe-Flo valve from RJC Products.

It is important to note that the backflow phenomenon has not been demonstrated in high-volume suction lines. This does not necessitate disinfection of these lines after each patient. But cleaning the high-volume suction tubing at the end of each day is important. Since debris can accumulate and clog the lines, an evacuation system cleaner should be used daily and shock treatment done periodically to keep the system running effectively.

Many of the evacuation system cleaners, such as BioPure from BioPure Products, Sultan Purevac and Pro E-Vac from Certol, Sani-Treet Green and Sani-Treet Green from Enzyme Industries, VacuKleen E2 from Heraeus Kulzer, Vacusol Ultra from Biotrol, SlugBuster from Ramvac, and Vac Attak from Premier, have enzymes that facilitate cleaning of debris from the tubing.

These products have also been tested for compatibility with evacuation systems. In addition, there are several shock treatments available to remove accumulated deposits not removed by daily cleaning. These products include VacuShock from TriCom Dental Products, and Bio-Pure System Restorative from Bio-Pure Products.

Chlorine-based products should never be used in the suction lines since the chlorine can cause corrosion of metal components in the system. Oxidizers have been shown to cause mercury to be released from amalgam particles, which can cause water contamination.

Disposable suction traps should be changed weekly or more often if they become clogged. The used suction traps should not be discarded in the trash since they contain amalgam particles. A licensed medical/hazardous waste hauler should be used to dispose of the traps, as well as amalgam capsules since they may have traces of mercury left from the mixing process.

It is always best to consult the manufacturer of your dental units and evacuation system for recommendations on which cleaning and disinfecting products to use with equipment. You know the old saying: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

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The Absolute Best In Curing Light Technologies

Posted on: April 8, 2016

The Absolute Best In Curing Light Technologies We’ve seen a lot of changes in the way we provide treatment since the mid-1990s or so. While there were some advances in dentistry before that time, I truly believe the pure amount of changes we have seen

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Posted on: March 23, 2016


1. Too much pressure? Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding air pressure specifications, found in the manual. Higher air pressure does not mean higher performance. Paying attention to the manufacturer’s specifications could avoid serious damage to the turbine, regardless of whether you are working with a high- or low-speed device.  

2. Put down the pliers. Remember to use manufacturer-approved tools on your handpiece, or refer to your manufacturer to have them repaired. Even if pliers seem like the obvious solution to a small problem, this could cause damage to the handpiece, or even void your warranty.

3. Keep wipe-downs simple. Remember to wipe your handpiece down with warm water, or warm water with a mild, manufacturer approved detergent prior to lubrication and sterilization. Using strong chemicals to do this is usually unnecessary, and may even cause problems with chemical interactions during sterilization. Do not submerge the handpiece in any liquid, unless the manufacturer’s manual explicitly directs you to do so.

4. Double-check your port. Make sure you are using the drive air port (the smaller of the two) to apply your lubricant, rather than any other opening in the handpiece. This opening is the only direct path to the turbine.

5. Don’t skimp on the oil. Remember to apply enough lubricant to your handpiece. It may seem logical to keep lubricant to a minimum, avoiding excessive internal residue, but you should make sure you can see the lubricant in the head before you stop application. Usually a two-count is sufficient.

6. Keep it clean. It is crucial to remember to eliminate excess oil to avoid clogged bearings in your handpiece. Run the handpiece for 20-30 seconds, or use an air flush station, after you have lubricated. (In some cases, the excess oil may be discolored, and you can repeat this process until the oil is clear, ensuring a deep clean.)

7. Keep your lights bright. Remember to clean any fiber optic surfaces with a cotton swab and alcohol, preventing the buildup of debris that may affect light transmission. Do not use any sharp instruments to clean the fiber optic ends.

8. Release the tension. Remove the bur and release chuck levers during maintenance and before sterilizing. Compression of any springs and levers during heating may cause them to weaken, shortening the life of your handpiece.

Call Precision Handpiece Repair LLC at 513-293-3341 with any questions. We service Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and may other states.


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Posted on: March 9, 2016

What causes failure in dental turbines?   •Bearings (specifically the bearing cage) will generally fail first, mostly because of: 1.Debris 2.Excessive air pressure 3.Excessive temperatures during sterilization 4.Side load stress 5.Water from

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Prometheous Coupler

Posted on: February 23, 2016

What Is PrometheusTM?

• The greatest advancement in handpiece technology since the advent of fiber optics!

• A self-contained LED coupler which allows you to have bright LED fiber optics simply by connecting the coupler to a fiber-optic handpiece.

  •  Eliminates the need for a fiber-optic system
  •  Saves you money (estimated $500 per system, plus installation cost)
  • Gives you the convenience of fiber optics wherever you connect the coupler.

Who is the PrometheusTM Coupler For?

• Offices without fiber optics installed

• Offices with broken fiber-optic systems

• Offices with fiber-optic systems in some tubing/chairs but not in all

• Offices that want to upgrade to brighter LED lighting

What Can the PrometheusTM Coupler Do For You?

For just the price of a regular coupler, the PrometheusTM Coupler can:

• Provide the huge benefits of fiber optics to the large number of practices without a system

• Be a better replacement for broken fiber-optic systems

• Extend fiber optics to additional operatories/chairs

How Do You Use the PrometheusTM Coupler?

• You can use your favorite fiber-optic handpiece (any KaVo, NSK, Star®, or Midwest®, private label, or other fixed-back 5-hole)

• You connect the corresponding PrometheusTM Coupler to the handpiece

• LED fiber optics instantly!

• The PrometheusTM Coupler is fully compatible with the other brands’ handpieces and couplers.

Call Precision Handpiece Repair LLC at 513-293-3341 for more Infromation. We service Ohio, Kentucky And Indiana and many other states.


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Posted on: February 9, 2016

Comparing intraoral camera systems

As dentists continue their move towards a chartless or paperless practice, they are incorporating many newer technologies which assist in this goal. However, many fail to realize that there are systems which have been around for some time, but they have evolved considerably during the past few years. While digital radiography is getting most of the recent attention, the number of offices using intraoral cameras is estimated to be at least four times the number of offices with digital radiography! Most offices using intraoral cameras find them to be indispensable, so it makes sense to evaluate the various camera systems available to find the best fit.

Are intraoral cameras still viable?

In a word, yes. The biggest competition to intraoral cameras has been the plummeting cost of extraoral digital cameras. A complete extraoral system from a dental-specific vendor like PhotoMed can be found for $1,600 to $1,800, well below the cost of a high-end intraoral camera. The image quality of these extraoral cameras is typically far better than any intraoral camera; resolution is higher and the shutter speed is quite a bit faster. However, the main advantages of the intraoral camera are its ease of use and how quickly you can see the images. With an intraoral camera, you can have an image on the screen in a few seconds. With digital extraoral cameras, you need to turn on the camera, use retractors and/or mirrors, frame the shot, take the picture, and then download the image into your software. Hygienists and staff usually prefer the intraoral cameras because of this. I do feel both systems are a great addition to any practice, and that each has its own ideal clinical application.


The first and still most popular camera systems on the market are the fiberoptic systems. These systems typically use very high-end optical systems to produce the best image quality possible. The light source is in a separate “box,” and with a fiberoptic cable running from the box to the handpiece. Until very recently, these were the only type of intraoral camera systems available. While the image quality is above average to excellent with most camera systems, there are a few reasons why some offices didn’t find these cameras to be a good fit for them. The camera and box are quite heavy, and they are difficult to move from operatory to operatory. Some of the original camera systems were so heavy that a cart containing all of the components (camera, light source, monitor, and printer) was suggested as the best way to handle this issue. As any dentist knows, though, when the camera isn’t a few inches from your fingers when you want to use it, it’s not going to be used as much as it should be. One of the solutions offered was to put a docking station in each operatory. While this made carrying the camera much easier, it added around $1,000 to $1,500 per operatory to the overall cost.

USB cameras

Because of the challenges of moving fiberoptic cameras, a number of manufacturers in the past few years have developed USB camera systems. These cameras are typically very lightweight. Unlike the fiberoptic systems, the light source is built into the handpiece - usually a ring of lights around the lens. This allows the camera to be extremely portable and to be easily moved from room to room. Since these cameras use standard USB connections, they can be easily attached to any computer.

However, as with all systems, there are pros and cons. Because of the small size of the lens and the LED lights used, many people do not find the image quality of these cameras to be ideal, especially for diagnostic use such as locating a fracture or canals for endo procedures. Also, some offices - accustomed to the quality of the fiberoptic system - are often disappointed. All USB devices require a small piece of software called a driver to be recognized, so USB cameras will only work with specific software programs. You’ll need to check with your image software vendor to determine which cameras are compatible with what you have.

Compare the two types of camera systems in use before deciding on the one that meets your requirements for image quality, cost, portability, and ease of use.  Call Precision Handpiece Repair at 513-293-3341 if you would like further information. We service Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Other States.

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What Are The Different Delivery Systems For Dental Care

Posted on: January 13, 2016

What are the different delivery systems for dental care?

The three most commonly-used delivery systems for patient treatment (over-the-patient, rear, and side delivery) are compared below, with photos and some of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Over-the-Patient Delivery

This is the system most used in dental clinics today. This unit design meets the requirements of time and motion concepts and promotes good ergonomic positioning. With the unit over the patient, the assistant can easily retrieve the handpieces and transfer them to the doctor who does not need to remove his or her eyes from the operating site. There are no hoses to interfere with the assistant’s position. This type of unit has been designed for the practice of true four-handed dentistry. Also, if the dentist is working alone the handpieces are easily accessible.



  • The most ergonomically-sound system for the dentist
  • Easily converts to left-handed or right-handed
  • Moves up or down with the chair to maintain a constant relationship
  • Provides the most practical use of space
  • Allows dentist and assistant to handle instruments and switches
  • Allows the dentist to release the handpiece without looking up


  • The most visible system to patients in terms of seeing the instruments
  • Is very confining for patients
  • Patients may bump into unit if they rise up suddenly
  • Not generally recommended for treating children or patients with conditions that result in aggressive behavior or unpredictable movements
  • Patient's feet can get tangled in the handpiece cords


Rear Delivery

The doctor must pick up the handpieces, which requires severe twisting and turning, since the doctor is forced to turn from the operating field to pick up the handpiece. Often it is necessary to transfer the handpiece from the retrieval hand to the operating hand. The units are mounted in a fixed position that cannot be moved to accommodate for the positions of the dentist or for ease of use for the assistant. HVE hosing and air/water syringes are permanently affixed to an assistant’s work area.



  • Least expensive system and easily combinable with an assistant cart for little additional expense
  • Easily converts to left-handed or right-handed
  • The least-visible system for patients
  • Easy patient access to dental chair
  • Allows handpieces to be transferred and burs to be changed by the assistant
  • Easy to connect to in-wall utilities


  • Ergonomically less sound for the dentist, who must twist to reach handpieces or instruments
  • Places the dentist at increased risk for sharps injuries from dental burs, due to the location of the handpiece holder near the dentist's forearm
  • Cords can become tangled and difficult to position for efficient use
  • Requires two entries to operatory--one for the dentist, and one for the assistant
  • Makes working alone or standing up difficult for the dentist

Side Delivery

This unit has been a popular concept for many decades. In fact, most schools use this style of unit, often supplied with a bracket tray. This unit requires the dentist to pick up the handpieces so they must remove their eyes from the treatment site, twist and turn to grasp the instrument, and then refocus. The assistant can’t reach the instruments to exchange handpieces or change burs, reducing productivity that is gained from four handed dentistry.



  • Provides easy patient access to chair
  • Less confining to patients
  • Easy to connect to in-wall utilities


  • Most do not convert to left-handed and right-handed
  • Handpieces inaccessible to assistant, so dentist must change burs
  • Ergonomically less sound for the dentist, who must twist to reach for handpieces or instruments

 Call Precision Handpiece Repair at 513-293-3341 if you would like additional information. We service Cincinnati Ohio, Dayton Ohio, Columbus Ohio ,Northern Kentucky, Louisville Kentucky, Lexington Kentucky, And Indianapolis Indiana.

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