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Storing your handpieces for long periods of time

Posted: 25th Mar 2020

With the current COVID-19 crisis and the prospect of an immediate shutdown, we’re all starting to think about how we’ll leave our premises and equipment for a period of time. Probably the last thing on the checklist is how to store the handpieces but it’s vitally important that this is considered.

I’m sure everyone will have plenty of work, when the shut-down comes to an end and the last thing you’ll want is a whole load of handpieces that refuse to work! At Trigiene we’ve put together a list of tips that will help avoid handpieces seizing through lack of use.

Firstly, it depends on whether you’re sterilising using a vacuum class B autoclave or non-vacuum. If a non-vacuum is used, be sure the handpieces are thoroughly dried prior to bagging.

The most common problem we see is the handpieces becoming corroded due to contact with moisture for long periods of time. Trigiene recommends bagging the handpieces once thoroughly dry or drying with non-linting disposable drying cloths, prior to bagging.

Wherever possible, store handpieces in the vertical position (head up) so that any moisture that may have collected in or around the head can drain away.

Prior to storage, it would be beneficial to flush the handpiece through with a quality branded oil to ensure all internal parts have a protective layer of oil. Avoid using a low-cost unbranded oil as some of these tend to turn ‘gluey’ if left in the handpiece unused.

HTM01-05 states that you should have a way of monitoring sterilisation dates and rotate in a first-in/ first-out system. Unwrapped instruments should be stored and transported in a way that minimises contamination. Storage and sterilisation boxes provide a clear, safe and identifiable way of transporting contaminated or decontaminated instruments. Best practice requires instruments that aren’t scheduled for current use, to be stored in a separate environment (a clean room or a designated clean area of decontamination room).

Matthew Evershed

MD of Trigiene Dental

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