Comprehensive Guide to Dental Handpieces Repair

The realm of dental equipment, particularly dental handpieces, is crucial for any dental practice. This comprehensive guide delves into various aspects of dental handpiece repair, providing insights into procedures, costs, maintenance, and best practices to ensure optimal performance and longevity of these essential tools.

Understanding Dental Handpiece Repair: The Importance of Expert Repair Services

Dental handpieces, the paintbrushes of dentists, are intricate devices that demand skilled repair and maintenance. These tools are pivotal in a range of treatments, from caries removal to cavity preparation and crown and bridge procedures to tooth trimming for veneers. Therefore, selecting a service with certified technicians is crucial for professional and correct repairs.

Dental Handpieces Repair - Comprehensive Guide to Dental Handpieces Repair

Types of Handpieces That Can Be Repaired

Almost any handpiece, regardless of type or brand, can be repaired. The most common types of dental handpieces used in dentistry include high-speed dental handpieces, electric dental handpieces, and low-speed dental handpieces. Each of these handpieces has unique attributes such as rotational speed, torque, size, and weight, which determine their use in different dental procedures.

Key considerations when deciding whether to repair or replace a handpiece include the handpiece’s value and the frequency of breakdowns.

The Lifespan of Dental Handpieces

The lifespan of any handpiece depends directly upon how it is being used, stored, and maintained. Experts recommend that these units should ideally be replaced every 5-7 years, but with proper maintenance, they can last much longer.

Dental Handpiece Maintenance

Proper maintenance of dental handpieces can prolong their lives, ensuring flawless operation for years without giving the surgeon any problems. Here are some essential steps for maintaining your dental handpiece:

  • Know your handpiece: Read the manual that comes with your dental handpiece thoroughly to ensure correct operation.
  • Control air pressure: The air pressure used should not exceed 45 PSI for slow-speed handpieces and 32 PSI for high-speed handpieces.
  • Lubrication: Place a couple of drops of oil into the intake tube of the handpiece daily, between patients.
  • Exterior Cleaning: Use an alcohol swab or a swab of distilled water to wipe down the exterior of your dental handpiece.
  • Sterilization: Sterilize the handpiece in an autoclave between 120 and 135 degrees Celsius only, and do not exceed this temperature.
  • Repair with manufacturer-made parts only: If your dental handpiece ever needs repairs, ensure that the person repairing it only uses the correct parts that are compatible with your unit.

The Importance of Expert Repair Services

When it comes to dental handpiece repair, it’s crucial to consult your user manual and/or initiate a repair or replacement process with a certified technician. Be careful with third-party equipment servicers and do your homework before choosing one to ensure they are using original parts.

With the right preparation and education, your dental practice can maintain and even perform some repairs on dental handpieces, allowing your practice to run at its best and avoid expensive repairs. Diligence is the key to understanding and maintaining these sophisticated tools; if you follow manufacturer instructions and require adherence to protocols, good dental handpiece maintenance is very achievable.

Repair Process

Initiating a Repair

Starting a repair process is as simple as creating an online account. This account will help you track serial numbers and repair orders, ensuring you’re always in the loop about your device’s status. If you prefer a more hands-off approach, you can send your handpieces directly for manual order creation. This way, the repair team will handle the order creation and tracking for you.

Repair Timeframes

When it comes to repair timeframes, efficiency is key. A standard repair usually sees a 24-hour turnaround. This means that from the moment your device is received, the clock starts ticking. You’ll receive immediate notification upon receipt of your device, and rapid shipping post-repair ensures you’re not left waiting.

The Repair Process: Step by Step

  1. Diagnosis: The first step in any repair process is diagnosis. This involves identifying the problem and understanding the cause. For example, a device may be malfunctioning due to physical damage, such as a cracked screen or a broken charging port, or software problems, such as a virus or a corrupted operating system.
  2. Repair: Once the issue has been identified, the technician will perform the necessary repairs. This may involve replacing a broken part, repairing a damaged component, or reinstalling software.
  3. Testing: After the repair, it’s crucial to test the device to ensure the issue has been fully resolved. This step is crucial to avoid any recurring issues and to ensure the longevity of the repair.

Choosing a Repair Service

When it comes to repairing a device, choosing the right repair service is crucial. Here are some options to consider:

  • Authorized Service Providers: These are repair companies that the device manufacturer has officially recognized and authorized. They are typically well-versed in the specific brand’s devices and have access to original parts.
  • Third-Party Repair Services: These are independent repair services that can provide fast and affordable repairs. Even though the device manufacturer may not officially recognize them, they frequently have the knowledge and expertise to handle a variety of devices.

Cost of Device Repair

The cost of device repair can vary depending on several factors, including the type of device, the extent of the damage, and the specific repair service chosen. For example, a repair that costs $100 in the United States may cost €100 in Europe or ¥10,000 in Japan.

Common Device Issues

Here are some of the most common device issues that users tend to encounter:

  • Cracked Screen: A cracked screen is one of the most common device issues. It can happen to any device, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops. A drop, an impact, or pressure on the screen can cause a cracked screen.
  • Charging Port Issues: Charging ports are used frequently and can wear out over time, leading to charging issues.
  • System Crashes: System crashes are more common than you might imagine. They can be a result of something as simple as a virus or as complicated as a motherboard issue.

Remember, the key to a successful repair is to act quickly once an issue is identified. The sooner the repair process is initiated, the sooner you can get back to using your device.

Cost Considerations

When it comes to repairing your devices, understanding the cost is crucial. Repair prices can range anywhere from $25 up to $250 or more, depending on various factors.

Type of Device

The make and model of your device play a significant role in the cost of repairs. Generally, older models are less expensive to fix than newer ones. However, this isn’t always the case. For instance, repairing the rear camera of an iPhone XS typically costs less than fixing the same issue in an iPhone 8 Plus.

Nature of the Problem

The nature of the problem also influences the cost. Simple fixes, such as replacing a battery or a faulty earpiece, cost less than resolving water damage or complex device problems. The relative ease or difficulty of repairing a device problem plays a major role in the price.

Choice of Repair Service

Where you get your device fixed can also impact the price you pay for the repair. Different companies charge different amounts, so shopping around may be in your best interests. However, choosing the service with the absolute lowest cost might not be a smart move. You want to trust your device to a service that has extensive experience and offers a warranty on their work.

Warranty and Guarantees

Repair services often come with warranties, which are guarantees or promises made by a manufacturer or similar party regarding the condition of their product. Warranties offer consumers some assurance that the goods and services they purchase are as advertised.

Types of Warranties

There are two types of warranties: express and implied. Express warranties are written contractual agreements that promise product repair or replacement for faulty products under normal conditions within a set amount of time. Implied warranties, on the other hand, provide additional consumer protection by guaranteeing remedies if the product fails to perform as designed.

Warranty vs. Guarantee

While the terms warranty and guarantee are often used interchangeably, there are subtle differences between the two. A warranty is a guarantee from a seller that if their product fails to meet certain specifications, a remedy is available. A guarantee, on the other hand, is a promise or assurance from the manufacturer or seller that the product will work as described or meet specific quality standards. If it doesn’t, the manufacturer will fix or replace it.

Resolving Warranty Disputes

To ensure your warranty is honored, use items for intended purposes in accordance with the instructions. Also, if there is a maintenance schedule, ensure you conduct and document any periodic maintenance.

Repair or Replace?

Deciding whether to repair or replace a piece of equipment should be based on minimizing the total cost of the equipment to the business over its remaining lifetime. There are several factors to consider when making this decision.

Cost of Repairs

Consider the cost of repairs and how often you will be paying those costs. Documenting asset repair events provides information on the number and frequency of breakdown events and costs for the repairs.


Consider the impact of downtime while the asset is being repaired. If it takes several days to repair, and if this happens frequently, you’re looking at many hours of lost productivity.


Older equipment can cause injuries to workers if it malfunctions. Even if you stay up-to-date on maintenance, equipment wears down as it ages. Thoroughly inspect your machinery before making your decision so you can determine if your current equipment will continue to provide a safe environment for your workers.


Consider the efficiency of your machine. How efficient is your machine operating now, and will a simple repair keep efficiency at the level you want, or would a new piece of equipment that uses less fuel, offers newer features, and breaks down less frequently be better for your efficiency and your bottom line?

Understanding the cost of repairs, the details of warranties and guarantees, and the factors to consider when deciding to repair or replace equipment can help in making informed decisions.

Common Handpiece Maintenance Mistakes

Dental handpieces are essential tools in any dental practice. However, improper maintenance can lead to frequent repairs and a shortened lifespan for these instruments. Here are some common mistakes that dental professionals often make:

  1. Failure to clean and maintain the autoclave: The autoclave is a crucial part of the sterilization process for dental handpieces. If not cleaned regularly, buildup can occur, leading to contamination of the entire unit.
  2. Incorrect use of chemical wipes before sterilization: Using a chemical-based wipe on handpieces before sterilization can cause harmful reactions when the handpiece is subjected to the high temperatures of an autoclave cycle.
  3. Immersing handpieces in fluid: Many dental professionals mistakenly believe that placing their handpieces into an ultrasonic cleaner will assist in cleaning. However, handpieces should never be immersed in any type of fluid, as it could result in damage.
  4. Removing handpieces too early from the drying cycle: If a handpiece is removed before it has completely cooled, condensation may develop within the handpiece, leading to rust and rendering the handpiece useless.
  5. Incorrect lubrication: Many dental professionals lubricate the wrong hole in their handpieces. The air tube is the only line that goes directly to the turbine and other moving parts. Lubrication should not come in contact with the other holes, which are for exhaust, air, or water.
  6. Failure to run handpieces after lubrication: Once lubrication has been applied, it is crucial to allow the unit to run for a while. Failure to do so can result in the oil gumming up inside the turbine and other moving parts.
  7. Neglecting to clean the fiber optic region: To ensure that the operating field is bright and functioning, the fiber optic surfaces must be cleaned regularly.

Avoiding these common mistakes can extend the life of your dental handpieces and ensure they function at their best.

On-Site vs. In-House Repair Services

When it comes to maintaining and repairing dental handpieces, dental practices have two main options: on-site repair services and in-house repair facilities.

On-Site Repair Services: Companies like Dental Fix Rx offer on-site repairs for various dental equipment, including handpieces. These services are often faster and more affordable than the competition, allowing dental practices to stay in operation and make more money.

In-House Repair Facilities: Some companies, like Benco Dental, have in-house teams that provide precision repairs and a variety of options, including OEM and non-OEM parts for handpiece repairs.

The choice between on-site and in-house repair services depends on several factors, including cost, work quality, expertise, tools, equipment, and technology, risk reduction, and management focus on core business.

Proper Handpiece Maintenance Techniques

Proper maintenance of dental handpieces is crucial for maximizing their performance and extending their lifespan. Here are some tips and best practices:

  1. Regularly clean and maintain the autoclave: This prevents buildup and contamination.
  2. Avoid using a chemical-based wipe before sterilization: This can cause harmful reactions during the autoclave cycle.
  3. Never immerse handpieces in fluid: This can cause damage.
  4. Allow handpieces to cool completely before removing them from the drying cycle: This prevents condensation and rust.
  5. Lubricate the correct hole: Only the air tube should come in contact with lubricant.
  6. Run handpieces after lubrication: This prevents the oil from gumming up inside the turbine and other moving parts.
  7. Regularly clean the fiber optic region: This ensures a bright and functioning operating field.

Following these steps can help extend the life of your dental handpieces and keep them functioning at their best.

Handpiece Repair Companies Overview

There are several companies that specialize in the repair and maintenance of dental handpieces. Here are a few examples:

Dental Fix Rx: This company offers on-site repairs for various dental equipment, including handpieces. They are known for their fast turnaround and personalized service.

New England Handpiece Repair: This company sells and services used, pre-owned, and reconditioned handpieces. They have over 58 years of combined dental handpiece experience.

Hughes Dental: This company specializes in the care, maintenance, and repair of a wide assortment of dental handpieces, including W&H handpieces.

Choosing the right repair company for your dental practice depends on several factors, including the types of services offered, the company’s experience and expertise, and the cost of their services.


Maintaining and repairing dental handpieces is a critical aspect of running a successful dental practice. Choosing the right repair service, understanding the costs, warranties, and the importance of regular maintenance can significantly impact the longevity and efficiency of these vital tools.

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