On this weeks TIPisode, brought to you by Young Dental we are joined by Whitney Howerton, MDH, RDH to discuss all things about handpieces, specifically cordless handpieces!
- Corded vs. Cordless Handpieces
- Create your handpiece wishlist
- Discover CDC recommendations for handpiece disinfection and sterilization
- Create a safer polishing experience for the patient and clinician
- Experience an innovative cordless handpiece
“I feel like I have better control of the RPMs with a foot pedal as opposed to applying more pressure or adjusting the speed via a pre-set speed setting much like an electric toothbrush.”
“In a cordless handpiece, I wanted a light weight, ergonomic design, the same power and torque as a corded handpiece and the ability to choose my own brand of prophy angles.”
“I want to introduce you to a handpiece where you have infinite possibilities.”
“The Infinity cordless handpiece by Young Dental offers an exceptional engineered design, weighing 4 ounces and has an extremely quiet operation.”
“4 ounces you guys, that is nothing!”
“It is really for any dental professional that can legally use it!”
“Clinicians can enjoy the flexibility of a cordless handpiece without sacrificing freedom of choice.”
“The Infinity paired with the Splatter Guard prophy angle is the most splatter reducing combination on the market.”
“It has killer and I mean KILLER battery life.”
This TIPisode has been transcribed for your viewing pleasure:
Michelle Strange: A Tale of Two Hygienists presents this week’s TIPisode: quick and easy tips to keep you up to date and presented by the experts in the profession. Now, get ready for your unofficial TIPisode.
Whitney Howerton: Hi, everyone. My name is Whitney Howerton, and I am a dental professional just like you. Let’s talk all things handpieces, specifically cordless handpieces. Many clinicians prefer a cordless or have expressed interest in at least trying one. So let’s get started.
Cordless handpieces contain the handpiece/kind of motor portion as well as a sleeve or nose cone. So, if you’re not familiar with cordless handpieces, I’m sure you’ve at least seen them, and you kind of know what I’m talking about.
Often included in a kit or for you to purchase are charging bases or a cradle and of course charging cords. Some cordless handpieces come with a foot pedal, some require you to purchase the foot pedal separately, and some cordless handpieces do not require one at all. So, for me as a former corded, you know, slow speed dental hygiene handpiece user and dental hygienist, you know, I want a foot pedal. And I felt like I needed it actually because, you know, it’s like I get used to driving my car, right?
So I wanted to kind of drive my foot pedal. I felt like having — or I felt like I had better control of, like, the RPMs when it came to the speed of the prophy angle and how it was moving with the use of a pedal as opposed to some of the ones on the market where you apply more pressure to the tooth to make it go faster or you adjust the speed via like a preset button or preset speed setting much like you have with an electric toothbrush. So, for me, I like my cordless handpiece to be very similar to my corded. I like a pedal. I like having control. So maybe that has to do with my, you know, dental hygiene personality I guess.
So a question for you is have you ever researched the different types of cordless handpieces on the market? What features would make your ideal wish list if you created one for your perfect handpiece?
I don’t know about you, you guys, but I wanted — when I was thinking about cordless — and I was really hesitant to switch to a cordless handpiece because ones that I had picked up and tried at different dental hygiene shows kind of felt heavy to me. I wasn’t sure if it was, like, balanced. It didn’t really feel balanced in my hand. So, when I was kind of thinking about my wish list, I wanted something obviously lightweight with a nice ergonomic design. I wanted it to have the same power and torque as a corded handpiece. I wanted the ability to choose my own brand of prophy angles. I did not want to be, like, stuck using somebody else’s brand that maybe I didn’t care for.
So that — those were kind of like my top things, right? I want it to be lightweight and ergonomic, same power and torque as a corded handpiece, and I wanted to be able to choose my own prophy angle. And, for me, you guys, I love the Splatter Guard Prophy Angle by Young Dental, so thankfully I’m able to use one of my favorite prophy angles now with my favorite cordless handpiece. I really didn’t think I would ever become a cordless handpiece user.
So, you know, there are very — there are a few handpieces on the market that kind of basically pick your prophy angle for you. By that, I mean you’re really limited to their particular brand or design or styles of prophy angles. So maybe those prophy angles do not offer, you know, the features that you prefer, so I want to introduce you guys to a cordless handpiece where you have infinite possibilities, you guys.
So I wanted to introduce you to the Infinity cordless handpiece by Young Dental. Traditionally as a dental hygienist myself, I always think about dental hygienists and how we use things, but we also know that dental assistants and dentists, they’re also completing polishing procedures as well, so I just want to call it a cordless handpiece and not a cordless dental hygiene handpiece because it’s really for any dental professional that can legally use it, right?
So the Infinity cordless handpiece by Young really offers an exceptional engineered design weighing four ounces. It has an extremely balanced feel in the hand as well as a quiet operation. And four ounces, you guys, I mean that’s nothing. [Laughing]. I always think about if you order a piece of steak or you order, say, a piece of fish or something, or maybe if you’re a vegan or vegetarian you order, I don’t know, a cauliflower steak, four ounces is really not a lot, you know, depending on your dietary habits. So four ounces. Super, super lightweight, you guys.
And, speaking of the quiet operation, you know, this product came out in May of — or launched really — kind of officially launched in May of 2019, and since then, Young has gotten so much positive feedback from clinicians about how quiet it is for clinicians that treat patients with special needs that might have auditory or sensory sensitivities. They always compliment how quiet it is and that it doesn’t kind of stimulate those negative responses that louder noises in the dental office can, so that’s something that I really love about it too.
So, in addition to the quiet operation and that balanced, weighted, you know, engineered design, as clinicians, we can enjoy a full range of motion and greater access especially to the posterior area without the burden of cord drag. You know, any time I temp somewhere and they’ve got that curlicue cord that’s like, you know, wrapped around and wrapped around, it reminds me of my hairdryer or something. Any time they have that cord, I’m like, “Ugh, here we go. Thank goodness I brought my cordless handpiece in my temp bag of goodies,” you know? So you’re not overburdened by a cord. You don’t have to deal with those really long, old-school style corded handpieces that weigh so much.
Also something that’s unique about the Infinity is that it does offer a 360-degree swivel in the nose cone, which really helps you or helps clinicians with greater access and really maneuverability as you’re kind of moving and polishing from the distal to the direct buccal or lingual and rolling toward the mesial.
In addition to its stellar ergonomic design, clinicians can enjoy the flexibility of a cordless handpiece without sacrificing their freedom of choice when it comes to their prophy angle. The Infinity works with any Doriot Style prophy — disposable prophy angle. We want to stay away from the metal autoclavable ones anyway, right? We know that they can harbor bacteria, and they’re just a little old school. So we want to — we typically use disposable prophy angles anyway, so the Infinity offers lightweight ergonomic design, 360 swivel of the nose cone, plus you can choose any disposable prophy angle that you want. It also has killer — and I mean killer, you guys — battery life with four times the battery life as the leading cordless manufacturer. Four times.
So I know for me because I temp, I can use mine, I don’t know, probably six or seven different clinical days because I’m not working clinically every day. When we trialed this product, there were some clinicians that reported they used theirs for up to 10 days before needing to charge it again. That’s not going to be the case for everyone, right? Because depending on how many patients you’re seeing per day — maybe you’re seeing 6 or 8 or 10 or 12, or if you’re in pedo, maybe you’re seeing 20 patients per day. But, typically, you’re not going to have to plug it up at the end of every day. The actual color on the power button will tell you.
So, when it’s green, you’re good to go. When it flashes twice or three times, it lets you know, okay, you’re only — you’re about 50 to 75 percent charged. And then it flashes two times. Ooh, you’re only 25 to about 50 percent charged. And then, if it ever turns orange, it’s letting you know, okay, you’ve got to plug me up. I need some juice. But you still typically have at least one maybe two uses out of it, so the actual power button is really helpful to you when you read the manual and you understand what the colors actually mean when it’s flashing and telling you things.
So having four times the battery life is killer for us as clinicians because we don’t have to panic most of the time if we forget to plug it up every single night before we leave or at the end of the day while we’re doing our sterilization procedures.
Something else that’s really cool about the Infinity: in internal trials that Young conducted, the Infinity paired with the splatter guard prophy angle is the most splatter reducing combination on the market. So I don’t know about you, but spatter and splatter and aerosols and things have been a concern, right? A lot of us are just kind of tired of talking about the pandemic and talking about things, but we’re still living it. It still exists at this moment at the time of this podcast.
So now that we’re thinking about splatter and spatter, I really want to discuss the current Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations when it comes to handpiece sterilization and disinfection. I want to make sure that we’re comfortable with that and we can review that because everybody’s different. Some people don’t stay as up to date on things as they should sometimes.
So, when it comes to corded — let’s talk corded first. When it comes to corded handpieces, the CDC recommends that they be sterilized between each patient, and that includes both the nose cone and the motor, not just the nose cone. Research shows that microorganisms can build up or be drawn into that nose cone or motor component when we’re polishing, so just wiping it down after a procedure is not enough.
So there’s a difference between a recommendation and a requirement. So, if you’re using a corded handpiece, I really encourage you to find out if your state requires handpiece sterilization between patients. One of the last articles that I saw that was published stated that 11 states required it. And then, since presenting a few courses and talking to different dental professionals, there are at least 12 states that require it, and then there are some states that particularly clarify that dental professionals should follow the current CDC recommendations, which then kind of makes it a requirement, right? So you want to really look at what your state requires you to do when it comes to handpiece sterilization.
Now, for cordless handpieces, which is our topic of focus today, cordless handpieces, the CDC recommends to follow manufacturer’s instructions for use. So this is where that little instruction book that sometimes we put it in a drawer or we file it away somewhere thinking we’re probably going to remember where we filed it and then we can’t find it when we need it, this is when that instruction book comes into place, okay?
So, when you’re processing a cordless handpiece, you want to make sure you’re following that particular manufacturer’s instructions for use. Not somebody else’s instructions for use. Not looking up a YouTube video or a TikTok video or another video online on how to process it. If it’s not from that company, their recommendations could be different, okay? So make sure you have that instruction booklet handy and we actually take the time to read over it and make sure we’re taking care of our really awesome equipment that we need for ourselves and for our patients.
So I can speak to the Infinity cordless handpiece in particular. Instructions are to, of course, remove and dispose of the used prophy angle, wipe down the handpiece and nose cone. Of course you want to remove the nose cone. If you need to, you can spray inside it with air if you see any type of visible debris, and then you want to package that nose cone individually for sterilization.
Now, you’re not going to sterilize the actual handpiece itself in the autoclave, right? We don’t want to damage that motor or battery component. So you want to ensure the handpiece is wiped down thoroughly, it remains damp for the suggested amount of time, and then of course you want to allow it to dry. So, much like how we are disinfecting our treatment rooms and our surfaces — right? — we want to make sure they’re dry. We’re not seating our patient too soon or — we’re allowing those wipes to work for their recommended amount of time for that particular brand of wipe, right? Or that particular brand of spray that you probably sprayed on a paper towel and then wiped your handpiece down with.
And then, before patient use, you want to attach a fresh, sterile nose cone, and then cover that nose cone and handpiece with a barrier so then after you’ve selected your favorite prophy angle, you’re ready to polish.
So, if you want to transform you and your patient’s polishing experience and to really learn about the benefits of the Infinity cordless handpiece, request an in-office or virtual demo today via the link in the show notes.
Michelle Strange: We hope you enjoyed this week’s TIPisode. Be sure to reach out to our guest experts and let them know how helpful their tips were. Follow A Tale of Two Hygienists on Facebook, Instagram, and head over to ataleoftwohygienists.com and subscribe to our newsletter. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and keep listening for more awesome content from your unofficial dental hygiene podcast.