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  • Rick

Handpiece Coolant -- More to it than you think

Something that is often over-looked and which is mostly ignored is your handpiece coolant. Most practitioners just “set it and forget it”. Many never realize there is a specific technique to setting it in the first place.

In one of my earliest posts (, I discussed turning off the coolant (“chip”) air to help reduce aerosols. As discussed at that time and as most know, coolant is not just water but a mixture of air and water.

To properly set your coolant, you should first turn off the coolant air. Almost every dental delivery system has a single knob to adjust the coolant air. One knob adjusts the coolant air for all the handpiece stations. Each station normally has its own knob for the water however.

With the air dialed completely down, gradually (¼ turn at a time) adjust the water up until you have the desired volume of water. Note, at this point, you’re only concerned with the amount of water, not the spray pattern or other considerations.

Once the water volume is where you want it, then slowly (again not more than ¼ turn at a time) adjust the coolant air up. The air mixing with the water will provide your spray pattern which is the primary role of the coolant air.

Properly set coolant can not only provide for efficient and effective cooling, but can even enhance visibility and aid infection control. Conversely, improperly set coolant can interfere with the flow of coolant water, lead to overheating and damage to equipment or even injury to the patient.



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