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What are the two most common types of dental handpieces?

by:Golden Promise     2023-06-04

Dental handpieces are important tools used in dental practices to help dentists carry out various procedures. Different types of dental handpieces are used for different procedures. In this article, we will discuss the two most common types of dental handpieces used in dental practices.

1. Air-driven dental handpieces

Air-driven dental handpieces, as the name suggests, use compressed air to drive the bur. This type of handpiece has a turbine that rotates the bur at a very high speed, which can range from 300,000 to 800,000 revolutions per minute (RPM). The speed of rotation depends on the design of the handpiece and the pressure of the compressed air.

One of the advantages of air-driven handpieces is that they are lightweight, which makes them easy to handle. They are also relatively less expensive compared to other types of handpieces, which makes them accessible to dental practices with limited budgets.

However, air-driven handpieces have some disadvantages. One of the most significant drawbacks is that they produce a lot of noise, which can be uncomfortable for patients and dentists alike. Additionally, they tend to overheat, which can lead to bur wear and tear and increased vibration, reducing the precision of the procedure.

2. Electric dental handpieces

Electric dental handpieces have an electric motor that drives the bur. The speed of the electric motor can be adjusted to the required speed for the procedure, ranging from 100 to 200,000 RPM. This means that electric handpieces can provide more precision and control than air-driven handpieces.

One of the main advantages of electric handpieces is their smooth operation, which reduces vibration and noise. This makes them more comfortable for both patients and dentists. Additionally, they have a longer lifespan than air-driven handpieces, which means that they require less maintenance and replacement.

However, electric handpieces tend to be more expensive than air-driven handpieces, which can make it challenging for some dental practices to acquire. They also tend to be heavier than air-driven handpieces, which makes them more difficult to handle.


3. Differences between air-driven and electric dental handpieces

While both air-driven and electric dental handpieces can be used for various procedures, they have significant differences in terms of operation, precision, noise, and cost. The choice between the two types of handpieces depends on several factors, including the type of procedure, the budget of the dental practice, and the preferences of the dentist and patient.

4. Common uses for dental handpieces

Dental handpieces are used to carry out various procedures, including cavity preparation, crown and bridge preparation, root canal treatment, and polishing. Each of these procedures requires a different type of handpiece, as well as different types of burs and attachments.

5. Factors to consider when choosing a dental handpiece

Choosing a dental handpiece involves several factors, including the type of procedure, the speed and torque required for the procedure, the noise level, the bur size, and the budget of the dental practice. It is essential to consider all these factors before purchasing a dental handpiece to ensure that it meets the needs of the dental practice and provides the best possible care for the patient.

6. Maintenance and care of dental handpieces

Proper maintenance and care of dental handpieces are crucial to ensure their longevity and optimal performance. This includes cleaning and sterilizing the handpieces after each use, lubricating the internal components, and replacing worn out burs and attachments. Dental practices should have a maintenance schedule for their handpieces to ensure that they are in good working condition and provide the best possible care for their patients.


Dental handpieces are crucial tools for dental practices, and choosing the right handpiece is essential in ensuring optimal performance, precision, and patient comfort. While air-driven and electric dental handpieces are the most common types of handpieces used in dental practices, other types such as ultrasonic and laser handpieces can also be used for specific procedures. It is essential to choose the right handpiece, depending on the procedure and the budget of the dental practice, and maintain them to ensure their longevity and optimal performance.

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