A dental handpiece is an instrument that holds a variety of different heads, such as discs or cups, all designed with a specific task in mind, such as cleaning teeth or preparing them for restorations. Approximately 60 years ago, air-driven handpieces, which use an air turbine, were introduced, revolutionizing dental care. Technology has improved upon the air-driven handpiece in recent years. At National Dental Hicksville, we take advantage of electric handpieces.
What are Electric Handpieces?
Electric handpieces are dental instruments that rely on electricity, rather than an air turbine, to create the rotary motion required to perform a variety of different tasks, including polishing, cutting, and contouring. These tools work similarly to an electric drill. Handpieces are usually organized by a range of speed, and their speed determines what jobs the tools can perform. Lower speeds perform tasks like polishing teeth, cleaning out cavities and performing the endodontic treatment. Higher speeds, on the other hand, perform tasks like tooth preparation for dental restorations and polishing ceramic crowns.
With electric handpieces, we have the ability to dial in exact speeds. This eliminates the guesswork and the unpredictability typically associated with the foot pedal that controls the air-driven handpieces. More than dialing in, we also have the ability to preset a variety of speeds for procedures we perform on a regular basis. Polishing ceramic restorations are usually done at 12,000 to 15,000 RPM, while the composite resin is done at 6,000 to 8,000 RPM. The lower speed prevents the generation of heat that would otherwise harm the material. Lower speeds can also be preset for cleaning cavities, endodontic treatment, and drilling for dental implants.
Along with improved speed control, electric handpieces provide consistent torque. With air-driven handpieces, the tools can slow down tremendously when cutting through exceptionally hard materials, or they may stall at lower speeds. They may also start to falter after prolonged use. This is not an issue with electric handpieces. Whether we are polishing your teeth, preparing a tooth for a crown, or polishing a ceramic restoration, the tools will not get bogged down.
Air-driven handpieces are known for their noise. Even with all of the improvements made on air-driven tools, there is only so much that can be done with the air turbines. The noise these tools make can trigger anxiety in a lot of dental patients. The noise is often associated with pain. As a result, these patients tend to avoid any dental appointments, including routine cleanings and exams. Skipping out on these dental visits could have serious implications on your oral health. Small, easily treatable issues may go unnoticed for some time, until they become bigger, and require more invasive procedures.
Electric handpieces are significantly quieter than their air-driven counterparts. If the noise of air-driven handpieces has kept you out of the office in the past, the use of electric handpieces can put those anxieties at ease. With less noise, you will be better able to relax and get the treatment that you need.
Electric handpieces have made a variety of different tasks much easier, and have improved the overall quality of your care. Contact National Dental Hicksville today at (516) 629-5086 to learn more.