17 Mar

Buying New Handpieces: Caveat Emptor!

New Handpieces?

Remember when automobile manufacturers would come out with a new engine? People would line up for them – only to find a short time later, the newly redesigned engines were plagued with problems. Those who stood in line to buy, also stood in line for service.

The design & marketing department simply got ahead of the engineering department. It was a rush to market.

The same holds true for dental handpieces today. As the big manufacturers continue to squeeze the market and raise prices, the market is indeed ready for change. Entrepreneurs, being entrepreneurs, have seized on the opportunity to offer a less expensive alternative.

The result is a flood of new products, but most are ill prepared for the rigors of everyday modern dentistry. Breakdowns are frequent. They too, in their rush to capture the market before someone else, have gotten ahead of their engineering department.

Consider this: there is a relatively new highspeedDental Handpiece Manufacturer today offering a cheap alternative to the more expensive major brands. These handpieces are designed to fit on the quick connects and use the fiber optics of models like, star & kavo and sell for about 1/2 the cost. The concept is excellent and the marketing potential is huge.

But, the handpieces are plagued with problems. The engineering is so poor, each turbine has to be custom built by the manufacturer to fit the heads. There is no consistency. Breakdowns are frequent.

I personally repaired 2 this evening. These were made to fit the kavo coupler. Both were purchased at the same time (a few months ago). They are exactly the same make & model with serial numbers only a couple of digits apart.

Both have already had several warranty repairs and now the warranty has passed. Even though they are the same; both turbines are completely different! One takes midwest highspeed style bearings and the other uses midwest lowspeed style bearings! Even the impellers are different!

The differences are small, but in an industry that measures in 1/10,000 of an inch increments, small means plenty. The bearings are imported from asia and of the poorest quality.

This line is a boon to repair facilities because repairs won’t last. I don’t like this kind of business. It reflects poorly on the repair industry. I would rather make a repair that lasts for a year or two and keep my 5 star rating.

If you are considering the purchase of new handpieces: do your own due diligence. Don’t rely on the information given to you by the salesperson. Research and talk to colleagues about their experiences before making your purchase.


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