Dental handpieces (DHPs) become biofouled internally with patient derived material that is difficult to access for removal and inactivation. This study undertook a quantitative and qualitative investigation of protein contamination of internal components from three different types of DHP: the turbine, slow speed contra-angle and surgical. Eluates from the high speed turbine, low speed spray channels and surgical gear were assayed for protein using an orthophthaldehyde assay. Eluates concentrated by Amicon ultrafiltration were also analysed by SDS-PAGE, mass spectroscopy, Western blotting and ELISA. The surfaces of handpiece components were also investigated by SEM, EFSCAN and EDAX microscopy. Surgical gears contained highest levels of protein (403 μg), followed by low speed spray channels (17.7 μg) and the high speed turbine (<5 μg). Mass spectroscopy of surgical gears demonstrated mostly serum derived proteins. Decontamination of the DHPs using an automated washer disinfector and handpiece irrigator showed a significant reduction in residual protein levels.
- dental handpiece