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Selecting Air-Driven Dental Handpieces

Impact air opticIf you are a clinician, it is imperative that you understand that the investment in dental handpieces may quickly result in a vast array of expenses. Examples of these expenses include basic operational costs, maintenance costs and repair costs. As a result of this fact, you must place a fair amount of consideration to the features, the maintenance requirements, and the overall reliability associated with the air-driven dental handpieces of the models that you evaluate when attempting to make a purchasing decision. The current regulations as set forth by the FDA actually prohibit opened dental handpieces from being returned to manufacturers. This makes it even more important to ensure that you make the right decision when selecting the air-driven handpieces for your practice. In this two-part series, you will be provided with basic information that will help you select the right air-driven dental handpieces for your practice.

The Angulation and the Size of the Head
The first consideration that should be made when shopping for air-driven handpieces is the angulation and the size of the head of the dental instrument. When shopping for handpieces, you will discover that many offer small heads and other manufacturers offer instruments with large heads. The smaller-sized heads offer a practitioner higher levels of visibility and easier access in the posterior area of the mouth. The larger-sized heads have a bigger and more powerful turbine impeller which results in more power. Additionally, handpieces with large heads result in less time in preparing a tooth for a procedure.

In recent years, numerous manufacturers have taken steps to improve the angulation of the heads of the dental handpieces in which they specialize. In most instances, a head has an angle of approximately 22.5 degrees. This angulation allows the instrument to remain in the sight of the operator; unfortunately, this angle often results in hitting the maxillary arch, therefore, restricting the operator’s access to the teeth in the posterior region of the mouth. Today, most air-driven dental handpieces include unique angulation so that the access to the posterior region of the mouth is enhanced and the patient’s overall comfort level is optimized. Pictured is a surgical handpiece that has a 45 degree making molar extractions easier.

Sounds Emitted from the Handpieces
The next consideration that should be made when evaluating air-driven dental handpieces is the amount of sound emitted from the instrument. It is a known fact that dentists are at a very high risk for experiencing hearing loss because of being in close proximity to dental handpieces for prolonged periods of time, throughout their careers. Additionally, if dental handpieces make a lot of noise, it could increase anxiety among your patients and cause them discomfort. It is best to opt for air-driven dental handpieces that have lower noise levels. In most instances, the ideal dental handpieces will have an operating noise level between 58 decibels and 71 decibels.

Thank you for reading the first part of our series, “Selecting Air-Driven Dental Handpieces”. We encourage you to return next week for the conclusion of this series. In the meantime, we at Hughes Dental Repair would like to invite you to take a look around at our selection of air-driven dental handpieces.

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