Micro tools play a huge role in the dental industry. These small instruments are extremely useful, but only when they are functioning well and in good condition. Daily use can lead to serious wear and tear of your medical micro tools, so it's important to practice regular maintenance on them to keep them operating at their peak performance. Here are some dental micro tool maintenance tips to help keep your tools in great shape.
Be careful with sterilization methods
It's a given that all medical and dental tools need to be properly sterilized between uses, but not all sterilization techniques are equal. For small power tools, refer to the manufacturer's instructions before attempting any sterilization method. The tools should be rinsed and cleaned before sterilizing, and a pH neutral detergent should be used because a low pH one can break down the stainless steel coating and lead to black staining on the tools. High pH detergent residue can cause a brown stain and impede the operation of the tool.
When sterilizing micro drills and bits, be sure to avoid letting the pieces touch, especially when using an ultrasonic sterilizer. Not only can this impede sterilization, it can also dull or damage the drill bits and make them less effective.
Lubricate tools as recommended
Drill manufacturers should include instructions on the frequency and method of lubricating micro tools. Be sure to follow these recommendations to keep the mechanisms inside the drill casing moving smoothly. Spray oil is a good choice because it forces the oil to the bearings, where it is needed most. If you do choose to use a dropper, be sure to flush the oil through until it comes out of the head of the drill. This will ensure that the bearings are lubricated thoroughly. Run the drill for a short time to make sure that the oil has been distributed properly so it won't pool up and coagulate during sterilization.
Don't leave dental burs in drills during autoclave sterilization
Autoclaving is a common and useful method of sterilizing dental micro tools, including drills. The bur must be removed from the drill before sterilizing in an autoclave to prevent damaging the springs that hold the bur in place. Because the springs are under tension while the bur is installed, the heat from the autoclave could damage them and make it unsafe to use. Remove the bur and clean it separately to protect the drill.
Keep airline pressure in the right range
If you force too much air through the line and into the drill, it can wear out the bearings inside the drill much faster. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for the correct air pressure, and keep the bearings lubricated to avoid damage.
Don't use a drill that feels "off"
Familiarize yourself with the way your drill performs when it's fully functional and optimally lubricated. Listen for grinding that could indicate the bearings are under stress. If the drill doesn't feel or sound the way it should, don't use it. Forcing it to function when something is wrong can seriously damage the hand tool.
Skip the DIY tool repairs
Many micro tools require specialized tools for repairs. They may also have small parts that can easily be lost or damaged when you open up the drill casing. Take your tools to a professional at a company like Richards Micro-Tool for repairs to prolong their life and ensure that they are repaired correctly and that they are safe for use in your office. Consider paying for maintenance coverage for your tools so you can have them repaired as needed. It's much cheaper to pay for regular maintenance than it is to buy new tools, so you can extend the life of your tools and save money, too.