The Turbine Source Tech Tip #3: Dental Handpiece Maintenance and Lubrication Guide

The Turbine Source Tech Tip #3: Dental Handpiece Maintenance and Lubrication Guide

Josh Gross

Dental handpiece maintenance and dental handpiece lubrication before sterilization are two of the more frequent topics we talk about with our customers. In this Tech Tip we will discuss the best methods to maintain and lubricate your high speed handpieces.

Proper high speed handpiece maintence and lubrication before sterilization can make all the difference when it comes to handpiece performance and service life. With almost 30 years of experience with dental handpieces and dental handpiece turbines, we have seen what works and the most common mistakes.

Below we have provided our recommended high speed handpiece maintenance and lubrication steps, along with some additional tips, to get the best performance from your high speed handpieces and keep them in service as long as possible.

Dental High Speed Handpiece Maintenance 

- Flush the water and air lines: Make sure water and air lines are working properly. Use a clean out wire to remove external debris and internal obstructions

- Clean the exterior of the handpiece: Wipe/brush exterior of handpiece to remove any debris or stains. Dry the exterior of handpiece with a cloth or paper towel.

  • Never exceed 35 psi during operation - One of the most common causes of high speed handpiece turbine failure is operating the handpiece over the recommended 32-35psi. 
  • If your high speed handpiece has fiber optics - Soak a Q-tip with rubbing alcohol. Hold the Q-tip between your forefinger and thumb, place directly on the fiber optic port (both at the head end and connector end), and rotate back and forth to clean and remove debris and discoloration.

  • If your water and air lines are clogged or partially clogged - Connect your handpiece to your air supply line. Insert a blank bur in your handpiece. Make sure your water is on and run your handpiece. Take a clean out wire and agitate the water and air ports at the the head of the handpiece. Most clogs are located right at the handpiece head ports, so if you have a clog, it will most likely be located there.

  • Periodically clean your handpiece chuck with a small brush - With the high speed bur removed from the handpiece's chuck, use a small brush to clean the inside of the chuck. Debris can build up on the inside of the chuck of the handpiece's turbine and can limit the ability of the chuck to hold burs adequately.

  • Periodically clean your hose connector threads - Remove your handpiece or your handpiece coupler from your air supply line. Use a cloth or paper towel and dental handpiece spray cleaner to clean and wipe off threads.

    Dental High Speed Handpiece Lubrication Guide

    *Star 430 Lube Free handpieces do not require lubrication before sterilization

    1. Remove your handpiece from the air supply line. If your handpiece has a coupler (swivel), remove your handpiece from the coupler,  remove coupler from the air supply line, then reattach your handpiece to the coupler.

    2. Insert a blank bur in the chuck of the handpiece

    3. Locate the drive air tube on your handpiece / handpiece coupler - Your handpiece / handpiece coupler could have between 2 to 6 total tubes at the connector end. To locate the drive air tube, hold the handpiece / handpiece with coupler attached, with the handpiece head facing away from you, and position so the two small water and air tubes are on top. The drive air tube will be the smaller of the larger two tubes, on the left side.

    4. Spray two quick bursts of handpiece spray cleaner in the drive air tube and run for 20-30 seconds, or until no excess cleaner is expelled. *Note: If you have a handpiece spray cleaner and lubricant combination, skip step 5.

    5. Spray two quick bursts of handpiece spray lubricant, or 2-3 drops of dental handpiece oil, in the drive air tube and run for 20-30 seconds, or until no excess lubricant is expelled. *Note: Make sure to expel all excess lubricant before sterilization. Too much lubrication left in the handpiece will actually reduce the service life.

    6. You are now ready to bag and sterilize your high speed handpiece.