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The Dental Handpiece Sterilization Process

 A dental practice today can be a busy and demanding place. Proper care includes following the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning, lubricating and autoclaving your dental handpiece. Listed below are a few tips to improving the performance of your dental handpiece. To help your pratice with its dental handpiece sterilization process, we have put together the following guidelines:


The used or contaminated instruments should be transported to the sterilization area with minimal exposure to other staff members and/or patients. Once the contaminated instruments are finished being used in the operatory, they should be placed in a sealed container and the clinician who is transporting should be wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.


Rinse the handpiece in clean water and allow the handpiece to be completely dry before packaging in the sterilization pouches. Each handpiece manufacture has specific protocols for cleaning their handpieces, so it is best to follow their recommended guidelines. 


All instruments to be sterilized should be packaged in pouches or wraps during the sterilization process. There are a variety of package options to choose from depending on the practices needs. 


There are a wide variety of different sterilization methods available today. The most popular is “Autoclaving” or moist heat under pressure. A properly working autoclaving unit will ensure all of your instruments are free of infectious and contaminated material.  The dental autoclave should always run through the complete cycle.  Refer to the manufactures manual for proper autoclaving procedures. 


Never use a handpiece that hasn't completely cooled off. Running a handpiece under cool water can warp the turbine, and using the handpiece while still warm will cause stress to the turbine. Always allow the handpiece to completely cool down to room temperature before using.


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