You might not think of your dental handpiece as an investment, but it's a significant one nonetheless. It's a key component of your dental operations' productivity and efficiency ‒ when it’s working properly.
When it’s not working properly… your high speed handpiece can feel more like a burden.
But if you do your homework, you'll reap all the positives and avoid any negatives.
With all that in mind, this article will discuss the necessary considerations that go into making this practice-defining purchase.
First, a quick refresher on basic functionality of a high speed dental handpiece.
A large turbine will deliver more torque, which is directly related to the handpiece’s overall cutting power. The power of air-driven dental handpieces generally ranges from 12 W to 26 W.
Bur rotation concentricity defines the bur head’s precision manufacturing.
Controlling the noise levels of the handpiece during a procedure ensures the patient remains comfortable. It also prevents you from experiencing damage to your hearing.
The longer the warranty, the more confident the manufacturer is in their handpiece’s quality.
Your turbine will likely need repairs or refurbishments when your warranty period ends. Before purchasing your high speed handpiece one should consider cost of repair.
This is your upfront investment being made in each handpiece.
When it comes to high speeds, there is a clear trade-off between handpiece head size and cutting power.
When the head is larger, so is the turbine mass. The result? More cutting power, measured in torque (ounce-inches) and watt (energy). Torque will determine how long it takes to remove a specific amount of tooth material.
Big powerful head sizes could impede your access and ability to see parts of the oral cavity. Although some handpieces with this feature can improve oral cavity access with their modified head-to-body angle. The 105° angle ensures your patients won’t feel any discomfort when you reach far back on their maxillary arch.
While the goal of most manufacturers is to reduce the head size, they’ve often been handcuffed by the standard bearing sizes typically available.
In fact, dental bearings were manufactured with 1 mm balls until just a few years back.
But some models have dropped to a 0.75 mm bearing, allowing for a smaller head.
However, these designs are proprietary and can’t be sold to anyone else. Therefore, you’d only be able to get such a handpiece repaired with the adhering manufacturer and nobody else. And that might cost you a little extra.
We’re at the tail-end of a pandemic, and it’s understandable if your practice is still trying to find its footing after a tough 2-plus years.
As a result, you might be looking to cut costs whenever possible. But there are limits to a shoestring budget. You can’t let your attempts to be financially responsible lead you to cutting corners and purchasing a low-quality, off-brand handpiece from a sketchy internet company.
Instead, regardless of your budget, you must ensure you’re using a product that’s regulatory compliant. That’s the only way to keep your patients safe and give them the quality of care they deserve.
You and your patients deserve the best possible high speed handpiece your budget will allow. It’s okay to spend a little bit extra for quality if it means you’ll end up getting the most use out of it.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and look up product reviews. And do whatever is necessary to ensure you’re landing on a product that bolsters the quality of your dental care.