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Differences of Different Handpieces

One of the most fundamental devices used in dentistry, the handpiece can enhance the efficiency of everyday dental tasks. The dental handpiece is an essential element in any dentist’s armamentarium. It is a fundamental device that can enhance—or hinder, depending on its efficiency and maintenance—the daily routine of a practice. Selecting the right handpiece is critical to helping ensure the smooth operation of everyday activities.

High speed handpieces are also known as drills in the dental world. This tool is a power-driven tool that has speeds of 400,000 rpm and up. The drill is of course used to drill holes for fillings and assist in other types of dental work like polishing dental trays for dentures.

Low speed handpieces rotate at reduced speeds somewhere between 0 and 80,000 rpm, depending upon the make and model. These handpieces are equipped with a speed control ring, allowing you as the user to control the speed of the ring manually.

The use of air-driven “high-speed” handpieces enabled clinicians to work more expeditiously with reduced trauma to the tooth and the patient. This development presented a major improvement from the “belt-driven” handpieces that preceded them and represents one of the most significant leaps forward in the era of modern dentistry.

Electric handpieces (with variable revolutions per minute [RPM]) are also available that give dentists added benefits when compared to their traditional air-driven counterparts. One significant difference is having a specific RPM, with constant torque and less “bur chatter” (more concentric), so that when polishing or cutting through various types of tooth structure or restorative materials, the bur does not “bog down” or slow down when performing the clinical task.

Finally, proper maintenance is critical for any instrument to perform at its maximum capacity and efficiency. Debris is considered to be one of the main causes of early turbine failure in air-driven high speed handpiece. Manually spraying handpiece lubricant into the device after each use is inefficient, messy, and not as consistently effective as using an automated system to perform this task. Through the years, handpieces have gradually been redesigned and upgraded to become the highly accurate and sophisticated dental equipment they are today. Technological advances continue to improve these indispensable instruments.

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