There are approximately 132,000
dentists in private practice in the United States. Dentists
use handpieces (drills) in their practice every day on practically
every patient. Handpieces can break down as frequently as
every six months due to the high temperature sterilization
they are subjected to between patient uses. Because of the
high cost of new handpieces, dentists never seem to have enough
handpieces to go around when one breaks down. For this reason
dentists need their handpieces repaired as quickly as possible
because they depend on them to produce dentistry. Sending
handpieces back to the manufacturer for repair can take weeks
and be extremely costly. Most offices would rather deal with
a real person in their local area than send their valuable
handpieces far away.
The market for dental handpiece repairs exploded in May, 1992
after CBS and NBC both aired television news stories on the
same night exposing the fact that dentists did not routinely
heat sterilize their handpieces in between uses on patients.
In the face of negative publicity occurring at the same time
about the possibility of a young woman being exposed to the
AIDS virus from her dentist, panic set in. Dentists began
sterilizing their handpieces for the first time in high temperature
steam autoclaves which caused two immediate problems;
handpieces were now required in dental offices because of
the long sterilizer cycle times.
began breaking down more frequently as a result of the high
temperatures in the sterilizer.
the FDA mandates many universal precautions for dentists,
including sterilization of all handpieces. This sequence of
events created an incredible opportunity for people in the
handpiece industry. Faced with costly repairs of their handpieces
on a regular basis for the first time ever, dentists began
searching for better ways to effect faster, cheaper, handpiece
repairs. Handpiece Express evolved to meet the demands of
this new and lucrative business.