more from Bill Smith, cPac CEO:

CPAC’s RapidHeat Pro11 Sterilization of Dental Handpieces The RH-Pro11 Sterilizer incorporates the High Velocity Hot Air (“HVHA”) principle of sterilization which is a waterless, non-corrosive technology and completely safe for the sterilization of most dental handpieces.

Incorporating a higher sterilizer chamber temperature (3750F) that is only a nominal 100 degrees higher than an autoclave, HVHA sterilization has been demonstrated in comprehensive testing not to have any more deleterious effect on dental handpieces than that of steam autoclaves. Because of their high-speed operation, today’s handpieces are made of higher heattolerant materials including “Viton” O-rings and “Torlon” Bearing Cages that routinely operate at continuous temperatures exceeding 4500F.

Additionally, the fiber-optic glass rods of a dental handpiece which have an operating temperature of 9000F are not affected by the RH-Pro11 sterilization environment. A dental handpiece life cycle can actually be extended when sterilized by an RH-Pro11 sterilizer since no water (steam) or chemicals are used in the HVHA technology.

When surveying handpiece repair technicians nationwide we discovered that one of the worst enemies to a handpiece low-maintenance operation is the improper drying of handpieces and the resulting corrosion that moisture causes.

Another concern of infection control practitioners and that of the CDC is the potential cross contamination of an improperly cleaned and sterilized dental handpiece. Bioburden left on a dental handpiece may act as a protective shield for microorganisms in an autoclave. Whereas the same bioburden microorganism may be more easily killed in an RH-Pro11 sterilizer due to its elevated temperature transferring heat faster through surface contact (via heat conduction). In documented independent testing it has been shown that 47% of microbes within a handpiece motor were transferred to a prophy angle.

HVHA technology with its penetrative power can materially reduce microbial bioburden and transmission of microbes to and from the motor. Regarding lubricants used in dental handpieces, most of which are petrochemical based, if the handpiece lubricant is not properly expelled prior to sterilization there can be gumming up of the turbine with the potential for the lubricant to enter the patient which is not desirable. As a preventative measure CPAC recommends that hightemperature food grade lubricants (>5000F, e.g., Super Lube® DRI-FILM) be used for handpieces that are sterilized using the HVHA RapdHeat technology.

When the HVHA RapidHeat technology was originally validated and independent tests conducted for a variety of handpieces and submitted to FDA for clearance, there was found to be no negative impact on the tested handpieces with the tests actually demonstrating a 12-Log kill reduction of spores as required by FDA. CPAC is currently in contact with handpiece manufacturers requesting that they support the HVHA validation of their products and their IFU’s include HVHA sterilization.

Thank you –
~Shlomo Savyon
Your Sterilizer expert