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handpieces in dentistry

by:Golden Promise     2023-06-03

Handpieces in Dentistry: The Essential Tools for Every Dental Practice


One of the most critical pieces of equipment in any dental office is the handpiece. It is an essential tool that every dentist relies upon to perform a wide range of procedures, from basic cleanings to complex surgical operations. In this article, we will explore the various types of handpieces used in dentistry, their characteristics, and how to care for them adequately. Well also go over some of the new technology and innovations that continue to enhance these vital instruments.

Understanding Handpieces in Dentistry

A dental handpiece is essentially a drill used in dentistry to cut, polish, and shape teeth. They are an essential tool for dentists and dental hygienists, as it enables them to perform an array of procedures with ease. There are two primary types of handpieces: air-driven (or pneumatic) and electric.

Air-Driven Handpieces

Air-driven handpieces rely on a motor that is powered by compressed air to rotate the cutting instrument. They are typically smaller and more lightweight than electric handpieces, making them easier to maneuver and control. This type of handpiece is best suited for procedures that require higher speeds, such as tooth preparation before bonding or filling. Air-driven handpieces also tend to generate less heat when operated, making them more comfortable for patients during longer procedures.

Electric Handpieces

Electric handpieces are powered by an electric motor, which generates a higher torque than an air-driven handpiece. This makes them ideal for more demanding procedures such as crown preparation or orthodontic work. Electric handpieces are also typically more durable and require less maintenance than air-driven handpieces. They are an excellent choice for practices that perform a high volume of procedures or those that require more versatility in their equipment.

Characteristics of Handpieces

Handpieces come in various shapes and sizes, and each has unique characteristics that make them better suited to different procedures. Some of the essential characteristics to consider when selecting a handpiece include:

Speed: The speed of the handpiece affects its cutting ability, as well as patient comfort. Consider the range of speeds that the handpiece can operate at, and choose one that is suitable for the procedures you perform most often.

Ergonomics: A handpiece should feel comfortable in your hand and be easy to control. When selecting a handpiece, consider its weight, grip, and balance to ensure that it will be a good fit for you and your practice.

Noise level: Some handpieces can be quite loud, which can be stressful for both the patient and the dentist. Consider the noise level of a handpiece before purchasing, and select one that will be comfortable for everyone involved.

Maintenance requirements: Handpieces require regular maintenance to operate correctly. Consider the level of maintenance required for a given handpiece when choosing one for your practice.

Caring for Your Handpieces

Proper maintenance is essential to ensure that your handpieces continue to function correctly and last a long time. Some key tips for caring for your handpieces include:

Lubricate regularly: Handpieces require regular lubrication to prevent friction and wear. Follow the manufacturer's recommended lubrication schedule to ensure your handpieces operate correctly.

Clean after each use: It is essential to clean your handpieces after each use to prevent the buildup of bacteria or debris. Follow the manufacturer's cleaning instructions, and use an appropriate cleaner.

Sterilize when necessary: Some procedures require sterilization of the handpiece. Follow the manufacturer's sterilization guidelines to ensure proper sterilization without damaging the handpiece.

New Technology and Innovations

Handpieces have come a long way in recent years, with new technology and innovations continuously improving their functionality and ease of use. Some of the latest advancements in handpieces include:

Laser technology: Laser handpieces are becoming increasingly popular in dentistry, as they offer more precision and less discomfort than traditional handpieces.

Autochuck systems: Autochuck systems make it easier to switch between handpiece attachments, speeding up procedures and reducing downtime.

Bluetooth connectivity: Some newer handpieces come with Bluetooth connectivity, which allows for easy tracking and monitoring of maintenance schedules and usage statistics.


Handpieces are an essential tool for any dental practice. By understanding the different types of handpieces, their characteristics, and how to care for them, dentists and dental hygienists can ensure that they are using the right equipment for each procedure and that their handpieces will last for years to come. With the latest technology and innovations continually improving their functionality, handpieces will remain a cornerstone of dental care for years to come.

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