Save money and down time by performing minor handpiece repair problems in office. Clearing dental handpiece water line and spray cover obstructions in office may be easier than you think. With guitar string and a small tool readily available from any auto parts supply store, most handpiece water line problems can be solved.
Curious about a tool most preferred by dental handpiece repair technicians? Okay you’re not, but humor us. Drum roll please ——-
Ignition Pliers – Handpiece repair tool of choice.
This amazing little 5” tool looks like a tiny pair of channel lock pliers, the perfect size for handpiece repair tasks such as grabbing water line cleaning wire. Attempting to hold the wire with your fingers tight enough to actually clear an obstruction is near impossible. Ignition pliers make feeding the wire into obstructed line much easier. With handpiece in one hand and pliers in the other, place wire in pliers such that 1/4” extends in front of plier jaws. Lightly assist the wire through spray port being sure to not use too much force.
Where’s the clog?
In many handpieces, the most tortuous path water takes is in the vicinity of the handpiece head, so you may only need to insert the wire a quarter to half an inch to achieve the desired result. In addition, many times the culprit is amalgam or powder which enters at the spray ports when peddle is released, so only the water exit point is clogged.
Single Port or Multi-Port?
Depending on your brand of handpiece, and the number of spray ports it employs, it’s important to understand the flow path water takes prior to ending up as atomized spray. On a single port handpiece, it’s likely that there is one solid tube from start to finish, and many times water clean out wire can be pushed through the entire length, resulting in a good clearing of all obstructions. On multi port spray models, such as the those manufactured by Kavo, Adec, NSK, Bien Air, and others, water enters via a single line, but then mixes with air in a ring header prior to exiting the handpiece head. In these cases, it is impossible for cleanout wire to travel the entire length of the water line. However, many times it is just the exit ports which are clogged, and the above process can be used to avoid a trip to the handpiece repair shop.
Other handpiece repair tasks made easy with ignition pliers
While Ignition Pliers are a great for gripping that hard to hold water line cleanout wire, they are useful in other areas too, such as for removing those corroded on handpiece connectors. Try to avoid contact with the handpiece itself though. Those jaws, however innocent looking, have sharp teeth which will leave some pretty unsightly marks and damage them beyond repair.
Having a pair of Ignition Pliers to solve your minor water line, and connector removal problems should easily return the investment the first time you avoid the repair shop.
For more handpiece repair tips see Low Speed Handpiece Problems? Try These 7 Steps.