Cross-infection risks associated with high-speed dental handpieces.
The effect of external chemical disinfection and flushing the water lines of dental handpieces with water, on bacterial contamination of these handpieces, was investigated. External chemical wiping reduced the numbers of viable organisms present on the external surfaces of handpieces, but did not eliminate them completely. Micro-organisms were still present on the internal surfaces after flushing the handpieces with water for a period of five minutes. Sterilisation and/or disinfection of both the internal and external surfaces of handpieces are essential to minimise the risk of cross-infection from this source in the dental surgery.