Love it or lose it… Caring for your handpiece
How do you make sure you are looking after your most essential equipment? The Probe gets the inside track from dedicated NSK Service Manager, Gary Stephenson.
TP: Dentists are used to hearing that they should take good care of their dental handpieces. Why is it so important?
GS: Dental handpieces are precision instruments full of individually manufactured components all calibrated to work perfectly within extremely tight tolerances This is what makes a good quality handpiece which can deliver the high standard of tooth preparation dentists require. These instruments spend most of their life in the patient’s mouth, so they must be very well manufactured and extremely safe to use. And as a medical device, they are regulated by the MHRA.
In addition, these are devices which dentists rely on very day throughout their working lives. As such they must be able to give the performance the dentist requires whilst also being easy and ergonomic to use. Poorly performing equipment affects not only the patient, but also the dentist’s job satisfaction and well-being, especially if the equipment is putting their working position under constant strain.
Therefore, when a dentist does decide to invest in a high-quality, precision-engineered handpiece, it doesn’t make sense to then not follow the manufacturer’s care and maintenance instructions and use generic spare parts to service it. It would be like buying a new car and then immediately diminishing its performance and the driving experience by replacing its precision, high performance engine with that of a tractor. It would waste money and enjoyment whilst impairing the performance of the car!
Sadly though, despite this we see far too many handpieces arriving prematurely at our NSKare service centre with reports of failure or restricted performance simply because of a lack of basic maintenance or poor-quality parts being fitted.
TP: What do you think are the barriers in dental practices that prevent them following the manufacturers’ care and maintenance advice?
TP: So, what’s the answer?
GS: This is where dental equipment manufacturers can step up and give busy dental teams the service they deserve.
The first thing manufacturers should provide is clear instructions on how to use the equipment so that no damage occurs through misuse. The instructions should also comprehensively cover how to clean the equipment and when to book it in for a service.
All owners of NSK equipment have access to our NSKare website, which has a wealth of training materials on care and maintenance and this is a rich resource for handpiece owners to call on including online CPD training for the whole dental team.
No other handpiece manufacturer has as many Product Specialists on the road as NSK who are working hand-in-hand with the NSKare Service Team to support customers worldwide.
Our aim is to make caring for and maintaining our NSK handpieces as easy as possible and to help our customers avoid spending money on unnecessary repairs.
TP: And what happens when it’s time for a service?
GS: Again, it’s important to make sending equipment in for a service as easy and quick as possible. We know clinicians hate to be without their handpieces for long, so a fast turnaround is essential. NSK customers can book their handpieces in for their service on the NSKare website; by simply filling in an online form and then printing out our postage-paid labels. They send it in, and we take care of the rest.
The calibre of the servicing and repair team is also important. All our NSK service engineers have been through a rigorous training process, where they learn exactly how each model is put together and designed to function. They all use accredited procedures and tools to make sure things are done to factory specifications, and they only use genuine NSK parts.
Using an unaccredited repair service can be extremely risky, as if the handpieces are not repaired correctly, their certification may be invalidated. If a dentist uses non-compliant handpieces, they will not only put their patients at risk of harm, but also their GDC membership and livelihood.
TP: Do you have any recommendations for how NSK handpiece owners should budget for servicing and repairs?
GS: Apart from ensuring they follow care and maintenance instructions, the simplest way of avoiding any unforeseen costs is to take out our NSKare Service Plan. For a fixed monthly fee, we will service handpieces at recommended intervals and guarantee to return them within a fixed timeframe. We will also loan practices replacement equipment to tide them over whilst their handpieces are with us.
Our service plan also covers breakdowns and accidental damage, so dental teams have complete peace of mind that they won’t be without their NSK equipment even for a day. With a vital piece of equipment such as a handpiece, that is crucial. Our product specialists can also visit practices to train new staff on correct care and maintenance, which can be a great time-saving bonus.
TP: Why does NSK place such an emphasis on caring for and maintaining their equipment?
GS: We are proud of our strong manufacturing history of making highly precise, meticulously engineered equipment. We are painstaking in our manufacturing processes and have an extremely high standard of quality control, individually testing each component before the equipment is even assembled. Therefore, when a customer buys a piece of our equipment, we want it to work for them and last for a long time.
At NSK we want our customers to get maximum use and longevity out of their equipment and that’s why we have such a strong focus on care and maintenance best practice. When a customer needs us for a routine service or a repair, we want to give them a good service and quick turnaround times, so they never have to cope for extended periods without their essential equipment.
Discover more about NSKare and how your valuable equipment can be kept in tip-top condition at www.nskare.co.uk.
Facebook: NSK UK Ltd