Guide: How to Clean and Sterilize a Corded Dental Hygiene Handpiece

By Sherri Ledbetter on June, 15 2021
Guide: How to Clean and Sterilize a Corded Dental Hygiene Handpiece
Sherri Ledbetter

Sherri Ledbetter is a freelance dental copywriter who helps dentists and dental marketing professionals fill their content calendar and reach their marketing goals.

No dental professional wants to interrupt a procedure because a handpiece fails to do its job. That’s why it's important to regularly clean and sterilize corded handpieces. Correct handpiece maintenance will ensure your corded handpiece will perform its best for you and your patients.

Even if you've used a dental handpiece for years, it's a good idea to review the steps to properly cleaning and sterilization for your corded handpiece.

Before You Start
Always wear PPE when handling contaminated items (this includes mask, gloves and protective eyewear).

Handpiece Preparation and Cleaning

Remove the handpiece from the air hose.
Remove the prophy angle from the nosecone.
Remove the disposable barrier.
Remove all visible soil and debris with a disposable cleaning wipe.
Thoroughly clean the inside and outside of the nosecone by removing the nosecone.
Wipe the collet with a disposable cleaning wipe. Also, blow air through the slots.
Check the handpiece and nosecone for any remaining debris.
Repeat the above cleaning steps if necessary.

Note: A soft bristle brush may be used to remove all visible soil and debris from the handpiece and nosecone, if needed.

Watch: Young Hygiene Handpiece Maintenance

Handpiece Lubrication
Lubricate the handpiece with lubricant cleaner. Add one or two drops of handpiece lubricant into the drive air hole located at the back of the handpiece.
 Purge the handpiece by connecting it to an air source or by attaching it to a purge unit. If using an air source, point the handpiece downward while also holding it over a paper towel to catch any drips.
 Run the handpiece for 30-40 seconds until all excess lubricant is expelled. Running the handpiece will also evenly distribute the lubricant to the bearings.
 Remove any remaining lubricant on the handpiece exterior with a gauze sponge.

Handpiece Sterilization via Autoclave
Insert the handpiece and nosecone into separate sterilization pouches. If sterilizing the Young Hygiene Handpiece, the handpiece and nosecone may be placed in separate bags, or one nosecone may be assembled with the handpiece before being placed in a single bag.
Place the pouches in a steam autoclave. Sterilize at 135°C (275°F) for 10 minutes. Place each handpiece in a separate paper/plastic steam-sterilizing pouch.

Drying the Handpiece

 Use the steam autoclave drying cycle by setting the cycle for 60 minutes. Allow the handpiece to cool to room temperature before use.

*Carefully follow the cleaning and sterilization instructions supplied with your corded handpiece.

Read on:
Guide: How to Clean and Disinfect a Cordless Hygiene Handpiece
Does Your Disinfectant Kill COVID-19? How to Find Out

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