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Factors to Consider When Purchasing a High Speed Dental Handpiece

 

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. 

 

The Nuts and Bolts of High Speed Dental Handpiece

 

First, a quick refresher on basic functionality of a high speed dental handpiece.

  • Handpieces work alongside a bur (i.e., a drill bit to a drill).
  • They operate at speeds between 200,000 rpm and 450,000 rpm 
  • These devices remove tooth tissue, prepares cavities for restoration/crowns 
  • They can cut through virtually anything (if the burr is correct) 
  • High speed handpieces incorporate cooling water spray to offset the pulp from overheating

6 Factors to Consider Before Buying a Handpiece

 

1. Torque Power

 

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. 

 

2. Bur Rotation Concentricity

 

Bur rotation concentricity defines the bur head’s precision manufacturing.

 

3. Noise

 

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. 

 

4. Warranty Length

 

The longer the warranty, the more confident the manufacturer is in their handpiece’s quality.

 

5. Turbine Repair Cost

 

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.

 

6. Initial Cost

 

This is your upfront investment being made in each handpiece. 

 

The Battle Between Size and Power

 

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. 

 

Keep Regulatory Compliance in Mind

 

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.

 

Don’t Rush Your Decision

 

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. 

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