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How to Protect Your Low Speed Dental Handpiece

Unused handpieces and handpieces which had been exposed to clinical dental procedures were contaminated with Streptococcus mutans, exposed to steam or ethylene oxide, and flushed with sterile saline. Washings were plated on mitis-salivarius agar, and colonies identified and counted. This data suggests that a substance entrapped within ‘clinical’ handpieces (possibly the biofilm) may protect bacteria from ethylene oxide gas, preventing adequate sterilization.

 

One used dental handpiece from each hospital or department of stomatology in general hospital selected was detected for possible contamination of bacteria by aerobic bacterial count and CONCLUSIONS: dental handpieces without anti-suction should be replaced soon by those with it or comprehensive dental unit with anti-suction device should be used. Used dental handpieces must be sterilized effectively before next use. Awareness on prevention from cross-infection should be improved for dental-care professional staff and operation of sterilization should be standardized.

 

Then how to sterilize your low speed handpiece:

 

Wipe down the handpiece with a damp disposable cloth. If there is still some bioburden left on the handpiece, clean under running water using a brush. A mild detergent is acceptable. Be sure that all bioburden is removed before proceeding to the next step as it can act as a protective sheild for microorganisms in the autoclave sterilizer.

 

Lubricate motor every 4-5 autoclaves; Using a pen droplet oiler (Pen Oil), insert 2-3 drops of oil into the drive air tube. 
 
 
Only lubricate motor every 4-5 autoclaves; Insert a drop of oil into the chuck and speed ring (if available) of the handpiece.
 
 
Because there are many different types of motors in the industry,  this image (left) guides you to how much lubrication to apply and to what parts of the motor.
 
 
Approximately once a month or whenever you see a lot of debris build up; be sure to clean the handpiece threads with a paper towel and isopropyl alcohol.
 
 
Wipe down the exterior of the handpiece with a dry towel to remove any expelled fluid or debris. The handpiece should be completely dry at this point.
 
 
Bag and sterilize according to the manufacturer's  instructions.

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