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Simple Trick to Reduce Aerosols from Your Dental Handpiece

Updated: May 20, 2021

Here it is — turn off your chip air


To reduce aerosols generated by your handpiece, turn off the coolant air (also known as chip air).


The coolant that sprays on the bur is not normally just water, but water mixed with air. It's the addition of air that provides the spray pattern but this also starts the coolant out as an aerosol. By reducing or completely turning off the air, you'll reduce the level of aerosol generated by your handpiece.


Most units have a single adjustment knob to allow you to adjust the coolant air flow. Just dial it down to zero.



It may seem alarming or even dangerous to turn off your coolant air as it aids in cooling. However, water alone is adequate as coolant in most circumstances. For example, surgical handpieces are designed to run without chip air, they only run in water-only mode.


The primary function of the chip air is to affect the spray pattern of coolant. By aerosolizing the water, it creates a broad spray pattern making it easier to cover the field with coolant. Simply increasing water flow can be effective at providing the same type of coolant coverage as that to which you are accustomed.


Reducing aerosols can be simply accomplished and best off all, turning a knob is free!

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