5 Common Problems Your Dental Office Copying Machine Will Endure

copying machine

There are almost 200,000 dental offices in the United States.

Almost all of them have a copier.

Most people employed in a dental office are not technology experts. You likely have experienced some of the annoyances of a copying machine yourself.

In fact, copying machines troubles can be the bane of our office existence. Even the film Office Space lampooned the issues people have trying to get documents to print and turn out correctly.

During that film, the characters ended up beating the copy machine to death.

We don’t want you to get to that point.

So here are some common issues you’ll face and how to fix them.

Copying Machine Issues: Paper Jam

Paper jams are the most basic of issues you’ll have with your copying machine. And if you copy a lot, you’ll have them often. There are some more specific ways to fix a paper jam if the problem is more serious, but typically, it’s just because you put too much paper in the tray. It can also result from putting in the paper that’s too thick for the machine to process.

To remedy this, you’ll need to reach in and pull the paper that’s stuck from inside the printer. You may need to pull it with a little bit of force. Once you’ve done that, make sure the paper isn’t too thick for your copying machine or that there isn’t too much of it there.

If all seems well, restart the copying machine and copy again.

If the paper is still jammed or you can’t free it, consult the manual. If that doesn’t work, call in someone from IT to help you fix it.


Don’t let your copying machine burst into flames. Yes, this can actually happen, but only if you’re not careful.

If you’re copying items nonstop for hours on end, your copying machine might get overheated. The LED panel will typically warn you if it’s getting near its breaking point.

You should always “listen” to your copier if things are getting literally heated. Caution other people in your office not to run the copier without breaks.

If your copy machine is indicating that it is heating up, lay off of it for a while. Start making copies again when it has cooled down.

All copying machines will be different, and as such, they’ll have different levels of “tolerance” for how long they can go without overheating.

Check out this post for a comprehensive list of the different kinds of copying machines that might work well for your dental practice.

Crinkled Paper

You don’t want to print out copies that are crinkled. This looks unprofessional and unsettling.

If your copies are coming out crinkled, there is typically a problem with the rollers inside the paper tray. Open it up and take a look. If the rollers look worn or are missing, they need to be replaced.

If you can replace them yourself, do so. Then test out your copier again.

If you can’t replace them yourself, don’t attempt to do so alone. Instead, either call in someone from IT or a professional to repair it. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can cause even more issues with the copier. Then, wrinkly pages will be the least of your concern.

Copies are Too Light

If you can barely read what you’ve copied, it’s probably time to change the ink. Your copying machine should alert you when the ink is running low. Most of us ignore this warning until copies start to turn up looking worse for the wear. But this is a tell-tale sign that it’s time to fix it.

This can also be a result of density issues. If you’re not running low on ink, check the settings on the copier. Check the density controls and make sure they’re not set too light. Someone may have accidentally pressed a button to change the density settings while they were trying to make copies.

Copies that are too light can also be because of a problem with the toner. The toner might not be living up to its expectations, or the toner could just be at the end of its life.

When buying toner, make sure you purchase toner recommended specifically for your copying machine. Buying cheap toner can result in this exact issue.

Conserving Ink

Although this isn’t a problem per se, you may find that you need to change the ink on the copier pretty often. Ink isn’t cheap, and it can be a pretty big expense.

Often, you’ll realize your ink is on its last leg just when you need to copy something that’s due imminently.

Tell the others in your dental office to be mindful of ink consumption. Do not copy things unnecessarily or without reason. They should also copy things on the black and white setting unless there is a reason for color copies.

Prolong the Life of Your Copier

Copying machines are big investments for your dental office. It’s vital to keep your office running. But you need to make sure you take good care of it to keep it running well as long as possible.

You should always refer to the manual if something happens you aren’t sure of. Keep it by the copier for easy reference. The manual can typically let you know what codes that come up mean and how to fix the most common issues.

For more information on running a smooth dental practice, visit our Marketplace blog.