Tag Archives: high speed handpiece

  • Practice Tips #82: A Bit About Light Bulbs

    We are celebrating our 7 year anniversary with Practice Tips #82!

    Thank you so much for being with us!

    American Dental Accessories has been proud to offer technical content that can help your practice become more independent for the past seven years. We look forward to many more years of empowering you! Visit our archive to catch up on past issues!


    PT-82_Bulb-Collage LED Bulb (#20-902), Curing Light Bulb (#20-140), & Fiberoptic Bulb (#20-202)

    Bulbs may seem insignificant in the scheme of things but you realize how important they are when a bulb goes out and you have an operatory that is out of commission. Bulbs are used in your operating lights, for your fiber optic handpieces, in x-ray viewers, your curing lights, and a host of other dental equipment. Suddenly, they don’t seem so insignificant.

    Here are a few tips for your practice, so you will always be able to “see the light!"

    1. Always keep spare bulbs on hand:  We’ve said it before with so many items in the dental office and bulbs are no different. Keeping spare bulbs available will allow you to reduce downtime in the operatory and will save you money as you won’t need to call in an expensive technician to get the operatory up and running again.
    2. Never touch bulbs with your fingers:  This is especially true with high intensity bulbs, such as the overhead patient light or curing light bulbs. The oils in your fingers can create a “hot spot” on the bulb or even create a fracture in the bulb housing, which will cause the bulb to fail prematurely. We suggest changing your bulb when the light is cool and while wearing gloves or some kind of barrier when installing it. If you do touch the bulb, you can clean the surface with isopropyl or ethyl alcohol and a cotton swab.
    3. ANSI code numbers printed on bulbs are helpful :  ANSI (American National Standards Institute) coded light bulbs meet specific industry standards for output, shape of bulb, base type, and spread of light beam. In many cases, these codes are printed directly onto the bulb.
      PT-82_BULB-CODE Close-up of the ANSI code on a curing light bulb (#20-125)

      If you are having difficulty figuring out which bulb you need to replace, referring to these codes on the old bulb will assist you in finding the correct match for the bulb you need. American Dental includes the ANSI code in our catalog and in our online product descriptions. We can also cross-reference bulbs using the ANSI code.

    4. Wattage and voltage:  Be mindful of the bulb’s wattage and voltage as well. ANSI codes sometimes are just an indicator of the bulb type, rather than a specific bulb. For example, there are several models of the Belmont operatory lights which use bulbs that are similar in shape and size (designated H-3), but they all have different wattage and voltage.
    5. What is it being used with?  If all else fails, knowing the make and model of the equipment that needs a replacement bulb is always helpful. We can usually locate the correct bulb for you with this information as we have access to the make and model cross references as well.

    As always, feel free to contact us at 1-800-331-7993 with any questions regarding bulbs or you can even hit us up on our live chat system by clicking on the "Live Chat" icon at the top of the page and we will be more than happy to help.

  • Practice Tips #70: Get Your Bearings

    The turbine is the heart of the high-speed handpiece and bearings are the heart of the turbine.

    Bearings are the most common failure point of a turbine and are often the primary differentiator between one turbine and another.

    Way back in  Practice Tips #22, “High-speed Handpiece Design,” we covered all of the components that make up a complete bearing assembly. For ease of reference, we’ve included the diagram of a bearing assembly below. For further explanation of the components, check out Practice Tips #22.

    Today, we’re going to look at some of the different bearing materials and designs on the market.

    Many turbines use stainless steel bearings that require lubrication. The balls, inner ring, outer ring, and shield are all made of stainless steel. The ball cage will be made of a polymer (there are a few more variations within this broad category and different types of polymers for the cage, but all these permutations require lubrication).

    Stainless steel bearings have been in use for decades and are a proven design with good performance and good reliability. They are manufactured in large quantities for dental turbines and many other industries so cost is comparatively low. As these turbines incorporate metal bearings in metal housings, they require lubrication. Most handpiece lubricants on the market are designed to withstand the rigors of sterilization, but these turbines should still be lubricated every time they are used (see our handpiece maintenance products here). Lubrication after using and before sterilization is generally adequate, but consult the manufacturer of your turbine and lubricant to determine if post sterilization lubrication is required as well.

    Many turbines currently on the market are advertised as “lube free.” There are 2 primary methods of manufacturing lube free bearings:

    • Using a lube free material (i.e. ceramic)
    • Pre-greasing the bearings and sealing them to “lock” the grease in (sometimes referred to as Life Time Lube or LTL)

    LTL bearings are still the same basic stainless steel design so they share many of the features of standard stainless bearings. The greasing and sealing process adds to the cost (and they aren’t manufactured in quantities like the standard bearings), so they will add to the cost of the turbine or handpiece that uses them. The sealing process, also, prevents debris from getting into the center of the bearing assembly and on the actual steel balls, so maintenance is a little easier. Nonetheless, these bearings (or, more accurately, turbines that incorporate these bearings) still need to be cleaned after every use and before sterilization.

    Last of all, there are ceramic bearings. Ceramic bearings are actually made of a ceramic silicon nitride, so they have a very smooth low-friction surface. The low-friction surface removes the need for lubrication and also minimized heat build-up during use. They, also, withstand high temperatures very well, so they withstand repeated sterilization better than stainless steel bearings.

    Both LTL and ceramic bearings will run at higher rpm than stainless bearings and are better able to handle higher air pressure (they typically require in excess of 40 psi drive air pressure). The higher rpm can help these turbines cut faster so some practitioners feel they perform better (naturally, this is subjective).

    In summary, the materials and techniques used to manufacture lube free bearings are more costly than standard stainless bearings, so these bearings (or the turbines that incorporate them) often cost twice as much as turbines that need to be lubricated. It’s up to the practitioner if the advantages are worth the expense.

  • Practice Tips #62: Star 430 Push Button Turbine Installation- Video

    Install your Star 430 push button turbine in minutes! Watch this video to see just how easy it can be.

    For more handpiece installation information, see our Dental Handpiece Turbine Installation video.

    Can’t see the video? You can also view this video on Youtube.