From the Experts: The importance of consistent handpiece maintenance and regular servicing.
Handpiece downtime – it’s frustrating, time-wasting, and loses money for your practice. While it may be unrealistic to expect downtime to diminish completely, it can certainly be drastically reduced. Poorly maintained handpieces can extend treatment times, cancel appointments, increase risk of injury to the patient and cause unnecessary treatment discomfort. Improve patient satisfaction ratings and save time and money for your surgery with consistent maintenance and regular handpiece servicing.
Unfortunately, the tendency is to wait until the handpieces are at breaking point before sending them off for repair. This often means they can be prone to extensive repairs and lengthy periods out of action, resulting in loss of revenue for the surgery. Regular maintenance and servicing can enhance the performance and extend the longevity of your handpiece, something which is crucial to reducing downtime. ‘A stitch in time saves nine’, is the old adage that certainly applies to handpiece maintenance. Continued use of handpieces that are showing signs of failure can often cause peripheral damage to other components costing more in the long run. Set up a planned preventative maintenance program to ensure all handpieces have a regular routine service to avoid sudden failures.
A stringent decontamination process that includes a robust handpiece oiling procedure will ensure your handpieces remain in good condition and operate at optimum performance. It’s important to stress that as soon as any deterioration in performance is noted, the handpiece needs servicing by an ISO9001 accredited handpiece repair workshop. Planned preventative maintenance such as an annual service will undoubtedly reduce downtime and extend the life of the equipment.
Top ten tips for handpiece maintenance:
- Ensure you have a robust maintenance procedure that ensures consistent oiling with every decontamination cycle. Documenting this process will provide consistency with all staff and assist with cross-training existing staff or inducting new staff.
- Remove from circulation and send for service any handpieces that are showing signs of excessive wear such as vibrations, abnormal noises/ rattles or loss of power at the earliest opportunity to avoid long term damage. Any reputable repair workshop will provide a free diagnosis or no-obligation repair quote so will cost you nothing.
- Look at ways to automate the maintenance procedure by installing an oiling unit. This will provide consistency with the process which reduces the potential for errors https://www.trigienedental.co.uk/Maintenance_Systems--category--447.html
- If manually oiling the handpieces, ensure you have the correct oiling nozzles to fit the types of handpieces you have. The correct nozzle will ensure the handpiece is fully oiled. https://www.trigienedental.co.uk/Maintenance_Lubricants--category--446.html
- Regularly clean and oil the chuck mechanism using the pointed nozzle https://www.trigienedental.co.uk/Oiling_Nozzle_pointed--product--4809.html An interdental brush can be used in the chuck to remove any excess debris.
- Always use a quality branded oil such as W&H, NSK, MK-Dent or Kavo. These have been specifically engineered for the best protection of your handpieces. Some generic handpiece oils are mineral based and not suitable for the delicate handpiece components.
- Always oil handpieces pre sterilisation and never post sterilisation to avoid the risk of re-contaminating your sterilised instruments. Modern sterilisers are built to process pre oiled handpieces and do not re-circulate the water.
- Keep a paper or digital log of handpiece servicing to keep track of regular service intervals. An accurate record of servicing will provide reassurance to regulatory bodies that you take equipment maintenance seriously and can provide traceability. In addition, you will have a quick reference on warranty expiries or service due dates. With Trigiene, all repairs and servicing can be tracked though our online repair portal giving you access to all of this information in one place. https://trigiene.co.uk/handpiece-repair
- Ensure handpieces leave the decontamination cycle in a dry condition and ensure autoclaves complete the ‘drying cycle’. This will ensure components do not corrode in damp conditions. https://www.trigienedental.co.uk/Autoclaves--category--498.html
- Always store handpieces in dry, air tight conditions and where possible in the (head up) upright position. Any presence of moisture can cause corrosion and premature component failure.
Following these simple rules will extend the life of your handpieces, reduce your repair costs and improve patient experience. To find out more, call one of our technicians on 01642 442910.