View all Posts

10 Things to Remember About Handpiece Maintenance

KaVo Kerr Connections

KaVo Kerr Team

10 Things to Remember About Handpiece Maintenance

Properly functioning handpieces are crucial to maintaining a pleasant, efficient dental practice. Unfortunately, insufficient maintenance is a leading cause of the premature failure of these devices. Keep this list in mind each time you clean and lubricate your handpieces to ensure that they operate at top performance and last longer.

  1. Too much pressure?

Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding air pressure specifications, found in the manual. Higher air pressure does not mean higher performance. Paying attention to the manufacturer’s specifications could avoid serious damage to the turbine, regardless of whether you are working with a highor low-speed device.

  1. Put down the pliers.

Remember to use manufacturer-approved tools on your handpiece, or refer to your manufacturer to have them repaired. Even if pliers seem like the obvious solution to a small problem, this could cause damage to the handpiece, or even void your warranty.

  1. Keep wipe-downs simple.

Remember to wipe your handpiece down with warm water, or warm water with a mild detergent, prior to lubrication and sterilization. Using strong chemicals to do this is usually unnecessary, and may even cause problems with chemical interactions during sterilization. Do not submerge the handpiece in any liquid, unless the manufacturer’s manual explicitly directs you to do so.

  1. Don’t ignore the bur.

Remember to remove your bur prior to lubricating and purging your handpiece; this allows for a more through lubrication and purge of the internal components.

  1. Double-check your port.

Make sure you are using the drive air port (the smaller of the two larger holes) to apply your lubricant, rather than any other opening in the handpiece. This opening is the only direct path to the turbine.

  1. Don’t skimp on the oil.

Remember to apply enough lubricant to your handpiece. It may seem logical to keep lubricant to a minimum, avoiding excessive internal residue, but you should make sure you can see the lubricant in the head before you stop application.

  1. Keep it clean.

It is crucial to remember to eliminate excess oil to avoid clogged bearings in your handpiece. Attach the handpiece to the delivery unit tubing and run the handpiece for 20-30 seconds, or use an air flush station, after you have lubricated. (In some cases, the excess oil may be discolored, and you can repeat this process until the oil is clear, ensuring a deep clean.)

  1. Keep your lights bright.

Remember to clean any fiber optic surfaces with a cotton swab and alcohol, preventing the buildup of debris that may affect light transmission. Do not use any sharp instruments to clean the fiber optic ends.

  1. Release the tension.

Remove the bur and release chuck levers before sterilizing. Compression of any springs and levers during heating may cause them to weaken, shortening the life of your handpiece.

  1. Don’t forget the chuck.

Remember that your chuck needs separate care, usually a direct dose of lubricant either manually or by the chuck care system contained in the QUATTROcare. We recommend chuck care for all of your handpieces once a week.


This list should guide you in escaping some of the common pitfalls associated with handpiece maintenance. First and foremost, however, refer to your manufacturer’s manual when determining proper maintenance techniques. You may be explicitly instructed to operate the handpiece without a bur during lubrication, for instance, or to lubricate both before and after a sterilization cycle. Product-specific instructions like these should take precedence over any suggestions you learn from external sources.


- KV00358/A5.18
KaVo handpieces
KaVo has always been the leader in creating innovative solutions for dental practitioners. Our vast line of quality handpieces showcases our attention to your level of care while delivering performance that lasts. It is our passion for excellence that enables us to deliver the best air-driven, electric, and surgical systems worldwide. German design and engineering in the palm of your hand. All KaVo handpieces sold in North America are made in Germany.
Back to Top