Operator's ability at assessing a high-speed (air turbine) handpiece before use: an audit

R. Holliday (Lead / Corresponding author), S. Venugopal, A. Howell, W. Keys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The 'high-speed' (air turbine) handpiece is used extensively across many dental disciplines and the ability of clinicians to detect faulty handpieces is essential.

AIM: The primary aim of this audit was to determine the proportion of participants who could correctly identify unsafe handpieces. Secondary aims were to determine the proportion that had previous training on the topic and determine whether an educational video could improve scores.

METHOD: Eighty participants completed the first round of audit. They were asked to inspect seven handpieces, five of which were faulty, with three being classed as unsafe. After the intervention (educational sessions and distribution of a video) a second round of audit was completed on 69 participants.

RESULTS: The ability to detect the three unsafe handpieces increased from 10% to 44% over the two rounds of audit. In the second round the highest score obtained was by those who had received the intervention, 77%. The lowest score, 14%, was by those who had not received the intervention. Nine percent of participants in the first round stated they had previously had training on handpiece inspection and none of these participants identified the three unsafe handpieces.

CONCLUSION: This audit has highlighted that there is a knowledge deficiency with regards to air turbine handpiece safety and inspection. We have shown that introduction of a simple education video can have an impact on dentists and students abilities to detect unsafe faults. We have already introduced this into the undergraduate curriculum in our school and we aim to also raise awareness within the dental community.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberE3
Number of pages3
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Issue number2
Early online date23 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


  • Dental High-Speed Equipment
  • Dentists
  • Education, Dental
  • Equipment failure
  • Humans
  • Students, Dental
  • Video recording
  • Journal article


Dive into the research topics of 'Operator's ability at assessing a high-speed (air turbine) handpiece before use: an audit'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this