American Dental Tech Blog

Category Archives: Dental Equipment

  • Practice Tips #65: Maintain Your Handpiece

    Maintaining your handpieces can often be overlooked. Hot gears from lack of oil and flattened bearings from overuse can easily be avoided. Dentists rely on high-performance handpieces to provide the best quality care to their patients. Even the best equipment can malfunction due to the lack of proper care, so American Dental Accessories is here to help you maximize the potential of your dental handpieces in a cost-effective and preventive way.

    We suggest you print and post the following step-by-step list near your sterilization area as a handpiece care reminder and for easy reference.

    Step 1: Clean the exterior of the handpiece using a mild soap and water solution to remove the gross debris in accordance with CDC guidelines.

    Step 2: Once the handpiece has been thoroughly cleaned, a few drops of handpiece lubricant (or a quick spray) should be placed into the drive air hole of the handpiece per the following diagram:

    Run the handpiece until nothing but clean lube comes out (all debris has been flushed). Continue to run until all excess lube has been expelled as well. NOTE: It may be necessary to repeat this step to expel all debris.

    Step 3: For lube-free handpieces, perform the above procedure using a handpiece cleaner, rather than a lubricant.

    Step 4: The above procedure is for high-speed handpieces and slow-speed motors. For slow-speed and electric attachments, lubricant should be sprayed into the handpiece from below and the attachment installed on a motor and run to expel any debris and distribute the lubricant.

    Step 5: Once all debris has been flushed from the handpiece, sterilize it in a chemical vapor or steam sterilizer at or below 275º F, according to the sterilizer manufacturer's instructions.

    Step 6: After sterilizing, remove the handpiece from your sterilizer and allow to cool completely.

    Step 7: Most lubricants currently on the market will not break down in the sterilizer, so you should no longer need to lubricate your handpiece again after sterilization.

    Your handpiece is now ready to use!

    If you still need help, please look at our post on Dental Handpiece Maintenance tips or call us with any other questions you might have.

    For additional handpiece maintenance and repair information see: The Blue Handbook: How to Care for Your Dental Handpiece.

  • Dentist Upgrades Operatory and Saves!

    This photo shows how one of our customers (name withheld by request) was able to upgrade an operatory and still save. He used a Beaverstate control head to retrofit into his cabinet replacing an aged a-dec unit.


    The new Beaverstate unit features smooth lines for easy cleaning. We also configured the unit with fibre optics, a self-contained water system, and assistant’s vacuum valves (HVE and SE).

    By using a self-contained water system the doctor can control his water quality. Using the system as the only source of water also saved money as he didn’t need to purchase a water master valve.

    This doctor shows that you don’t need to invest in a whole operatory of equipment to update your office. With American Dental Accessories, Inc. you can make small changes to individual components and still improve your practice.

    Got a project you’d like to share? How about a unit you’ve installed? Maybe just a couple photos of an op freshened up by simply installing new tubing? Tells us about it! Send your photos and stories and receive $25 American Dental Reward Dollars*.

  • Amalgam Separators Required in Illinois?

    Chicago-area dentists with their proximity to Lake Michigan may have been aware of existing regulations covering mercury and amalgam disposal throughout the Great Lakes region. Minnesota, Wisconsin, and most recently Michigan and Ohio have in place or have introduced regulations covering amalgam disposal in dental offices. To the North, amalgam separators have been required for some time throughout Canada.
    Recent legislation in Illinois will require the installation of an amalgam separator in dental offices throughout the state. SB1213 has passed and been sent for approval to the Illinois governor.
    This bill amends the Mercury Switch Removal Act and extends coverage of the act to amalgam (silver fillings) “added, removed, or modified in the course of treating patients” in a dental office.
    Should the bill be signed into law, by 2015 any “dental office, school, or vocational education program” that adds, removes, or modifies amalgam will need to install an amalgam separator onto the office’s wastewater lines before it empties into the sewer or a septic system.
    Amalgam separators have been used for years in many states and in Europe to remove amalgam from the waste lines of dental offices. In areas of the US where required, Amalgam separators must conform to ISO standard 11143 which governs the use and installation of separators as well as providing for a testing method to certify removal of at least 95% of amalgam present in the waste stream (some areas have a higher percentage removal requirement as well).
    Mercury is one of the primary components of dental amalgam and can accumulate in fish and other wildlife. Mercury has been shown to contribute to a variety of pathologies including kidney dysfunction and a wide range of neuropsychiatric disorders as well as inhibiting neurological development in children and fetuses of pregnant women exposed to Mercury.
    Need help determining what amalgam separator is right for you? Fortunately, we covered this a year ago in issue #24 of Tech Tips.
    American Dental Accessories, Inc. also offers a full range of amalgam separators and amalgam disposal containers for your convenience.