If low speed handpiece is running sluggishly, or even stopped completely, many times the culprit is a small piece of powder or dust lodged inside.
WD-40 spray is excellent for dislodging and expelling these particles, while also loosening rotating parts which, many times, will free up the seized motor allowing it to run normally. It also helps by reducing accumulated moisture within the handpiece, as the WD actually stands for water displacement.
Does this low speed handpiece procedure always work?
Of course not. This procedure is not 100% effective at returning low speed handpieces to normal running condition. However, it’s certainly an easy and safe way to avoid an occasional trip to the handpiece repair shop. View it as a minimally intrusive procedure used in an attempt to avoid a more extensive (or expensive) one.
Low Speed Handpiece Resuscitation
- Remove low speed handpiece from dental delivery unit.
- Spray WD-40 into the air intake hole (the smaller of the two large holes on handpiece backend) until you see lubricant exiting exhaust hole (the larger hole on the handpiece backend). Of course, if your handpiece uses a quick disconnect, you will have to have it for this procedure.
- Reverse the process by spraying into exhaust hole until lubricant exits intake hole.
- Return handpiece to dental delivery unit and run for 30 seconds.
- Don’t be afraid to repeat this process if low speed handpiece begins to show improvement.
- Once handpiece returns to it’s normal sound and operation, use manufacturers recommended lubricant, as directed, and expel excess WD-40 by running handpiece for an additional 30 seconds.
- Wipe down low speed handpiece with alcohol before returning to service.
See other in office handpiece repair tips.
While WD-40 is an excellent penetrating cleaner when used as described above, it contains components which are not beneficial to dental handpieces when used on a daily basis, and of course, it’s not approved by the FDA to be used on something to be placed in a patient’s mouth. We recommend storing it such that it is not mistaken for normal handpiece lubricant.