Handpieces are the life blood of a dental practice. Given their importance in daily practice, however, it is no surprise that a dental handpiece will need occasional repair even when properly lubricated and maintained by you as a practitioner. When this step is needed, there are two primary repair options to choose from: fix the device yourself or outsource handpiece repair.
Deciding which repair option to turn to takes some thought. Turnaround time and cost are two major factors in the decision. In his presentation titled, “5 Simple Recommendations to Maintain Your Dental Handpiece”, Mr. Glenn Williams discusses everything from turbine lifespan to handpiece maintenance. Here are the pros and cons of both repair options.
One option for fixing a balky handpiece is in-office repair. You can order a new turbine from the manufacturer, open the handpiece, clean it, and install the turbine yourself. With this method, clinicians will save valuable time and have the opportunity to get the instrument right back in rotation. Make sure to avoid replacing the original turbine with an inferior generic turbine. Installing a new OEM (original equipment manufacturer) turbine is the best option for efficient use of the handpiece, but this can be costly. While some dentists also decide to rebuild their own turbines, this consumes valuable time and most are not trained in this process. You may ask yourself, “Is this the best use of my time and dental education?”
Professional Handpiece Repair
Sending out the handpiece is a way to receive the best possible repair. Handpiece manufacturers are well-equipped with the knowledge, components, and skills to fix a failing instrument. After all, they created the device. Time and cost are two important considerations, however, for this path to repair. While professional repair will restore the device to optimal function, this alternative is generally more costly than self-repair and can take several weeks.
The dentist can similarly use a dealer repair center, internet repair option, or a local repair services—but be mindful of a few things:
- Ask to speak with the technician if possible;
- Ensure the faulty turbine is replaced with a turbine of equal performance and value;
- Make sure a new turbine is installed in the handpiece instead of rebuild; and
- Be clear about exactly what components you wish replaced or serviced.
Local repair companies can be a valuable resource in this capacity. Most are small, family-operated business with good customer service and fast turnaround. Local options can often offer solutions tailored to the practitioners’ needs and budget.
Dental handpieces are integral to daily patient care and most effective when properly maintained and/or serviced. There several different pros and cons with in-office and professional repair and, as you become a new dentist, it’s best to know all methods and ultimately determine the approach that best fits your situation.