How to save time and money while caring for your handpieces [VIDEO]

October 18, 2013

Learn how the KaVo QUATTROcare PLUS streamlines laborious manual processes and preps multiple handpieces for sterilization, in just two-to-three worry-free minutes.

Learn how the KaVo QUATTROcare PLUS streamlines laborious manual processes and preps multiple handpieces for sterilization, in just two-to-three worry-free minutes.

Jeanne Godett, RDH, has worked in practices that clean and lubricate their dental handpieces manually. In these environments, the manual process is slow and always causes a backup of clean, patient-ready handpieces.

Basic handpiece maintenance rules indicate that handpieces should be cleaned and lubricated prior to each sterilization cycle, which ensures that they operate at peak performance and last longer. However, it takes time to go through the proper manual process.

Handpieces are often poorly maintained-oil may be hastily applied and never reach the bearings, for instance, or excess oil may remain in the handpiece and get baked into the turbine during sterilization-which could cause damage over time. Even when enough time is set aside for thorough maintenance, it is not a task many dental professionals look forward to and used handpieces tend to pile up on a busy day.

At the push of a button, the QUATTROcare PLUS system allows up to four handpieces to be maintained at one time, and quickly, so you never need to worry about being without the tools you need. It also does the job thoroughly, every time.

QUATTROcare PLUS “takes the human error out of the equation,” Godett said, because the fluid levels and process for excess removal are the same with every cycle. Operator inconsistencies during manual maintenance may create a need for repairs, whereas with the QUATTROcare PLUS, Godett said “the handpiece is guaranteed to be treated with the respect it deserves, for years of flawless use.”

Godett estimates that she now saves about 10 minutes per patient with the QUATTROcare PLUS system. Because she is not rushing to lubricate, purge and sterilize between patients, she saves up to 80 extra minutes each day, and these saved minutes translate to saved dollars for her practice.

Watch the video below for an overview of the QUATTROcare PLUS system's features and benefits

Godett uses this time for better customer service and for patient education.

“The time should be spent with our patients providing excellent customer care,” she said. “Repeat customers means a financially stable, profitable practice.”

Doctors, she added, would probably find they are saving even more time by using this system because they generally see more patients per day than hygienists.

Beyond being a time-saver for those who already know how to use the QUATTROcare PLUS system, individuals who have no training can learn quickly. It is comprised of “easy steps,”  Godett said, and bringing new dental professionals up to speed on its proper use is simple. “Snap [handpieces] into place and push the button,”  Godett said. The QUATTROcare PLUS system doesn’t have a significant learning curve, saving her practice time and training dollars.

Godett and other dental professionals know proper maintenance takes a lot of time, which is scarce in a bustling dental practice, and that improper maintenance causes handpieces to fail prematurely. Luckily, the QUATTROcare PLUS is a one-stop solution to both of these problems.

This system pays for itself, Godett said, because of the quick and simple cleaning and maintenance and because handpieces go down less often.

“I would estimate the amount saved on a daily basis, in time alone, to be over $70 per hygienist,” she said.

TIPS: 8 things to remember about handpiece maintenence

1. Too much pressure? Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding air pressure specifications, found in the manual. Higher air pressure does not mean higher performance. Paying attention to the manufacturer’s specifications could avoid serious damage to the turbine, regardless of whether you are working with a high- or low-speed device.  

2. Put down the pliers. Remember to use manufacturer-approved tools on your handpiece, or refer to your manufacturer to have them repaired. Even if pliers seem like the obvious solution to a small problem, this could cause damage to the handpiece, or even void your warranty.

3. Keep wipe-downs simple. Remember to wipe your handpiece down with warm water, or warm water with a mild, manufacturer approved detergent prior to lubrication and sterilization. Using strong chemicals to do this is usually unnecessary, and may even cause problems with chemical interactions during sterilization. Do not submerge the handpiece in any liquid, unless the manufacturer’s manual explicitly directs you to do so.

4. Double-check your port. Make sure you are using the drive air port (the smaller of the two) to apply your lubricant, rather than any other opening in the handpiece. This opening is the only direct path to the turbine.

5. Don’t skimp on the oil. Remember to apply enough lubricant to your handpiece. It may seem logical to keep lubricant to a minimum, avoiding excessive internal residue, but you should make sure you can see the lubricant in the head before you stop application. Usually a two-count is sufficient.

6. Keep it clean. It is crucial to remember to eliminate excess oil to avoid clogged bearings in your handpiece. Run the handpiece for 20-30 seconds, or use an air flush station, after you have lubricated. (In some cases, the excess oil may be discolored, and you can repeat this process until the oil is clear, ensuring a deep clean.)

7. Keep your lights bright. Remember to clean any fiber optic surfaces with a cotton swab and alcohol, preventing the buildup of debris that may affect light transmission. Do not use any sharp instruments to clean the fiber optic ends.

8. Release the tension. Remove the bur and release chuck levers during maintenance and before sterilizing. Compression of any springs and levers during heating may cause them to weaken, shortening the life of your handpiece.

Source: KaVo America