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The 5 common issues with your handpiece and how to resolve them.

Posted: 6th Mar 2024

At Trigiene, we handle thousands of handpieces in our service centre every month, and our customers often turn to us for assistance when issues arise with their handpieces. We’ve identified the top 5 questions that our customers typically ask. This article is to ensure you know what to do if a problem arises.

We aim to provide you with the best advice and steps to follow if you encounter an issue with your dental handpiece, ultimately reducing downtime.


Why is black oil coming out of my handpiece?

When oiling the handpiece, you may notice black oil coming out; it’s crucial to remove the handpiece from circulation immediately. In the first instance, try re-oiling the handpiece until ‘clear’ oil is visible. Determining the exact cause is challenging until the handpiece has been inspected, but typically indicates a breakdown of the bearings which ultimately will need replacing. This problem is often associated with excessive vibration (as explained below) but a definitive diagnosis can only be made by an engineer after inspection.


Why is my dental handpiece vibrating?

Vibration normally indicates an imbalance or damage in the turbine and will cause discomfort to the patient and dentist.  In addition, continued use of an imbalanced handpiece could cause further damage to the delicate components. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do in the practice; the handpiece will need to be sent in for inspection by a trained engineer. The likely cause is worn or seized bearings and the internal components may need to be examined and replaced.


How do you remove a stuck bur from a dental handpiece?

Attempting to force or use pliers to remove a stuck bur can cause more problems. If the bur is stuck, do not try to remove it yourself; the handpiece must be inspected by a trained engineer. Specialised tools are required for bur removal. Common reasons for bur issues include using a ‘cheap’ bur with incorrect shank dimensions or using a damaged bur. If you find it difficult to insert the bur or encounter resistance, don’t force it. Instead, replace it with a new one.

You might be wondering, ‘How do I identify a damaged bur?’ If there is no visible sign of damage, one way to identify a damaged bur is if you find it difficult to insert or encounter resistance. Remember not to force the bur in, or it will get stuck. Disregard the bur and insert a new one.


Why isn’t the bur gripping securely in place?

If you have a push-button handpiece and the bur fails to grip securely, there’s little you can do. Always check that you have the push button fully depressed and re-insert the bur.  Once fully inserted, the bur should be impossible to pull out with finger force unless the push button is depressed.  The cause of a loose bur could be various issues, but the handpiece should be removed from circulation and inspected by an engineer. Often, it’s a sign that the chuck mechanism has failed and the cartridge may need replacing.


How to prevent a DCI 3 in 1 Syringe from leaking?

In a DCI 3 in 1 air-water syringe, you shouldn’t experience any water leakage. If you face this issue, it may be due to a damaged O-ring, the rubber seal inside the handpiece, which requires replacement. This can be done in the practice using an Allen key and a new O-ring. Check out our video on how to correctly replace the O-ring. How to Fix a DCI 3 in 1 Syringe| Change an O ring | Dentist | Trigiene – YouTube

If you encounter difficulties replacing the O-ring, you can send the handpiece to the service centre and a trained engineer will replace the O-rings.


We hope you found the article informative and are now better equipped to handle issues with your dental handpieces. If you have any questions that weren’t addressed in this blog, please reach out to us via live chat or email. One of the engineers in the service centre will be more than happy to assist you further.

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