General Article

3 Signs a Dental Handpiece is in Need of Repair

Dental handpieces are an invaluable part of the dentist’s arsenal of instruments. High speed handpieces allow dentists to do work more efficiently. Without properly functioning handpieces, decay is not totally removed and treatment may fail as a result. Because of the importance of having working dental equipment, knowing signs of malfunction in dental handpieces is critical in maintaining efficiency in your dental office. The signs often include overheating, leaking water and inefficient turning of the turbine.


Overheating is often one of the first signs that you need high speed handpiece repair. When the instruments that a dentist is working with overheat, the instrument can cause damage the the tooth and surrounding structures. It can also cause burns on the patient’s tongue or lip that are extremely uncomfortable. Overheating can happen with many instruments a dentist uses, from high speed handpieces to ultrasonic scalers and is a sign that maintenance is required.

Leaking Water

Dental handpieces often spray water in the effort of cooling the bur or tip that is used on the instrument. However, excessive leaking of water out of a handpiece can be a sign of trouble. Often, the repair is simple, such as replacing a worn o-ring. Nevertheless, it is always best to have the handpiece repaired when it begins performing abnormally.

Inefficient Turning of the Turbine

The dental handpiece is operated by a small yet powerful turbine. If you notice that the handpiece seems to be weak or not operating at full capacity, be sure that you have it serviced as soon as possible. Early intervention in mechanical failure is important to prevent total loss of the piece of equipment.

Maintaining dental equipment can be a costly and daunting task, but when taking the right steps to keep instruments maintained and in proper working order, you can provide the best treatment for your patients.