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  • Rick

The Myth of Lube-Free

Updated: May 20, 2021

I've heard countless times that lube free turbines are superior because they "require no maintenance" this is simply not true.

The design of most highspeed handpieces and the types of procedures for which they are used make them prone to generating and collecting debris. Debris gets into the head of the handpiece and can coat the turbine exterior as well as the interior of this head. This debris must be flushed prior to sterilization otherwise it gets baked on and leads to turbine failure.

Just as with any instrument, your handpiece must also be cleaned in order to be rendered sterile (in accordance with CDC guidelines). If debris isn't flushed prior to sterilization, your sterilizer may not be able to truly sterilize the handpiece. The attached photo is of a lube-free turbine that was not flushed regularly. You can see the build-up on the turbine which caused it to fail.

The build-up of debris visible on this turbine throws it out of balance putting additional stress on the bearings causing them to fail. In extreme cases, I've seen impellers (the blades or "rotor" of the turbine) worn down to almost nothing from rubbing on the inside of the handpiece head.

With lubricated turbines, most folks at least recognize the need to lubricate regularly. However, lubrication isn't really what applying lubricant after use before sterilization is about.

Most lubricants actually include a detergent so lubricated handpieces are cleaned by the lubrication process. Lube free turbines may not need lubrication, but they do need cleaning. There are a number of non-lubricating handpiece cleaners on the market. Be sure to get one and use it to flush your lube free handpieces after each use before sterilization.


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