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Freeing Clogged Handpiece Lines

Updated: May 3, 2022

The internal coolant lines of handpieces are very narrow and often follow somewhat convoluted paths (especially if your handpiece has a swivel). Unfortunately, this can make it easy for clogs to develop in them. New handpieces sometimes include cleaning wires to free clogged lines, but they don’t always work (especially if the lines aren’t straight). Once again, a dental instrument may be used to resolve this common problem.


A simple irrigation syringe can generate tremendous pressure (upwards of 100 psi) and it is the application of this pressure that can free the line. The tapered plastic end of the typical syringe will usually do a good job of sealing against a port on the back end of your handpiece so the pressure goes into the line.





The diagram above will help you locate the correct port to attach the syringe to so you can free the line.


For clogged water lines, you can introduce a small amount of your favorite water line “shock” solution to let it soak for a bit first, but often just high pressure air from the syringe is enough to free a clog.



Connect the irrigation directly to the water port on the back end of your handpiece to unclog the water line


Many professional repair shops use irrigation syringes to free clogged lines too. Although there are also specialty tools on the market, most of which are not far removed from a syringe.


Note, the above strictly applies to the internal lines of handpieces. We'll cover freeing clogged tubing in a future post.


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