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The importance of proper handpiece oiling and lubrication

Posted: 24th Mar 2020

Properly functioning handpieces are crucial for running an efficient dental practice. Insufficient maintenance is one of the top causes of premature handpiece failure. Oiling and lubrication are essential to ensure the longevity and performance of your handpiece and prevent continuous repairs, or even the need to purchase new equipment earlier than expected.

By reducing the amount of friction between moving parts, the heat inside the handpiece is lowered and therefore wear is reduced. Check out our top tips to learn how with proper maintenance, your handpieces can have a long, healthy life.

Understanding the correct handpiece oiling procedure

Following the correct cleaning, lubrication and sterilisation processes are essential to ensure that all your handpieces and decontamination equipment remain in good working condition.

The proper lubrication procedure completely depends on the equipment and the manufacturer’s guidelines. The majority of products will need to be lubricated before sterilisation, though some also suggest repeating the process after this stage too. It is also important that lubrication is carried out after every appointment, no matter how little the equipment has been used.

Using the right amount of oil on the handpiece is integral to the lubrication process and can make a massive difference to your handpiece’s lifespan. Too little oil means the handpiece won’t be lubricated properly and ultimately lead to premature failure. If you are using a quality manufacturer-branded oil, it’s almost impossible to over-oil the handpiece, however, too much of a poor-quality oil can be detrimental, causing a gumming effect around the turbine. All staff must receive training and understand the correct oiling procedure, which is essential for the longevity and best performance of your equipment.

For more, check out our video tutorial explaining the correct oiling protocol.

Manual handpiece lubrication

While manual lubrication appears to be the simplest method for lubricating your handpieces, it can also be frustrating, time-consuming and inconsistent. Ensuring you are using the correct oil can adaptor when a practice has more than one type of handpiece can become a frustrating task when it comes to organising and storing the necessary components. If there are various coupling types, it’s advisable to have the same number of oil cans ready fitted with the various adaptors.

Using an automatic lubrication system Oiling Machines

If you want to ensure your handpieces are fully lubricated to the optimal standard every time, then you might want to consider fully automating the process with an oiling machine! Oiling machines such as the FONA Qmate and NSK iCare C2 Units use a fraction of the oil that you would use when hand oiling, but the real return on investment comes from reduced repair costs and the saving of staff time. Some manufacturers may even increase their warranties if a nominated lubrication unit is put in use.

Using quality oil

Make sure you don’t immerse your handpieces in disinfectant liquids, because they can quickly corrode mechanical parts. To allow for effective cleaning, it is important to use high-quality oils, preferably 100% synthetic, as they offer many technical advantages and help extend the useful life of the instruments. Cheaper oils tend to not withstand the sterilisation process as well, which results in improper lubrication.

With the right care and attention, you can maximise the lifespan of your handpieces and avoid unnecessary repairs, downtime and costs. Contact our team today and we’ll be happy to assist with any of your handpiece maintenance queries and offer independent advice about suitable handpiece maintenance oil and oiling machines for your practice.

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