How To Use An Air Compressor? Functions And Benefits

how to use an air compressor critical dental australia

An air compressor is an indispensable part of any dental clinic and is critical to the continual day to day running of a busy clinic. Designed to compress, clean, dry and store air, they are also used to power the many dental handpieces and hand-piece cleaners.

Dental air compressors are different from many of their counterparts in that they are mainly oil-free. They lower the dew point of already compressed air, removing any impurities along the way via a built-in infiltration system. By removing impurities and/or moisture, a quality dental compressor protects handpieces when in use and more importantly ensures that any bacteria is eliminated.

So now you know what a dental air compressor does, let’s talk about how to use an air compressor.


Step 1 – Firstly, attach the  hose to the regulator valve

The regulator valve should be located right next to the smaller pressure gauge on one end of the compressor. It’s a copper-coloured metal plug with a big hole in the middle. Push the pointed end of the hose into the valve and attach it.


Step 2 – Plug in your handpiece/dental tool of choice

Holding the hose in one hand and your dental tool in the other, slide the tools attachment into the hoses-free end and twist them together until the tool locks into position. You’ll know when the tool is securely fitted because it won’t come apart when pulled.


Step 3 – plug in the compressor

Now it’s time to plug your dental air compressor in and switch on the power. Then pull on the safety valve to test it. The safety valve is a copper-coloured plug located near to the hose line. It should have a small handle or ring that is easy to pull. Pull it towards you and listen for the hiss of escaping air. If you hear that, this is a sign that all is good.


Step 4 – Wait for the tank to pressurise

Turn your air compressor on and keep an eye on the pressure gauge. When the needle has stopped moving it signifies that the air inside has reached optimum pressure. Then check your tool or handpiece to find out how much pressure it needs.


Step 5 – Adjusting the pressure

dental air compressor how to use an air compressor critical dental australia

Next check the pressure regulator located on the hose. Twist clockwise to decrease the amount of pressure or anti-clockwise to increase it. Keep an eye on the small pressure gauge also located on the hose until the desired pressure is reached. Once the pressurised air is up to speed in the hose, your handpiece/dental tool is good to go.

Of course, this is just a very rough guide, and not every dental air compressor is created equal. So how do you go about choosing the right compressor for your needs?


Evaluating your air consumption

To determine the correct air compressor you should first evaluate your air consumption. To do this you need to consider how many operators/chairs are in use at any one time. Typically each chair requires approximately 50 litres per minute LPM. The AC100 Cattani compressor, for example, has a 30 LPM tank and is, therefore, suitable for just 1 chair. In contrast, the Cattani AC 300 compressor can power up to 4 – 6 chairs running simultaneously.


Considering noise levels

Some dental air compressors are noisier than others –  so you need to decide whether you or your patients can put up with a noisier compressor. As a rough guide, check for the use of an acoustic hood or cabinet that will reduce any noise levels. Some compressors will also have quieter versions such as the Cattani AC 300 vs the AC 300Q, to make your choice easier.


Value for money

Any previous experience in buying dental products and equipment has probably shown that high-quality appliances pay for themselves in the long run. Quality dental compressors, for example, will be longer-lasting, have lower service costs and involve less frequent repairs. At Critical Dental, our Cattani dental air compressor range isn’t the cheapest, but they represent a quality brand from a quality manufacturer. So by spending a little more at the outset, it’s likely to save you money in the long-term.


So there you have it… We’ve talked about how to use an air compressor, what they do and how to choose the right one for your needs. Now all you need to do is to find a good dental supplier. This is where Critical Dental comes in…

We’ve been supplying dental items and equipment for over 25 years and during that time have become trusted industry experts. We don’t just sell dental equipment; we live and breathe it. So why not download our catalogue and take a look at our range of dental compressors for yourself. You can also call us at (02) 8883 0674

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