What is a Dental Drill?
A dental drill, also known as a handpiece, is a primary handheld medical tool that is used by dentists to perform a wide variety of common dental procedures. These procedures include tooth decay removal, smoothing of fillings, cosmetic dentistry procedures, and prosthesis altering. Internal mechanical pieces from the handpiece generate a rotary motion to provide power to the actual cutting instrument. Typically, a dental burr is the most common piece of the instrument used, however, other instruments can be incorporated into the handpiece, depending on the procedure. At cattanicompressors.com.au/shop a professional can find available equipment including dental drills.
The idea of a dental drill dates back as far as ancient times. Historical evidence says that our ancestors as far back as 7000 BC used an earlier version of a dental grill called “Bow Grill”. The dental method proved to be very effective, that the practice continued, and evolved to modern dentistry. In the late 1800s, the development of the modern dental drill came into light. With the help of electricity, the regular dental drill has now the capability of high-speed rotational force.
The handpiece evolved from a simple dental tool into a powerful, and more efficient medical instrument. The evolution of the modern dental drill is considered to be one of the most significant medical advancements in the field of dentistry.
Dental Drill Overview
Today’s high-speed handpiece is capable of producing cutting speeds of more than 180,000 rpm. Powered by air-pressure, compressed air helps the rotation of the turbine for high-speed burr rotation. It emits a high-pitch sound that can sometimes be annoying. These are the high-speed handpiece that is categorized as Air-driven dental drills.
2 Main Parts of Air-Driven Dental Drill
- The main body or shell casing – This is where air and water are supplied.
- The turbine – This is where the burr revolves.
3 Types of Dental Drill Materials
- Brass – A brass body or shell is typically cheaper. However, the drawback is that is slightly less strong, and corrosive.
- Stainless Steel – A steel body or shell is stronger compared to brass; however, it is expensive.
- Titanium Steel – A Titanium body or shell is the strongest among the three types, and it is also the least corrosive. However, it is also the costliest among the three.
The dental drill’s body and shell components can be divided into 2 parts:
- The Head – The Head holds the piece known as the turbine.
- The Outer Sheath – Makes up the handle, and acts as the holder of the water, and air supply.
The Importance of The Turbine
The Turbine is perhaps the most important component of high-speed dental handpiece. In technical terms, the turbine has the main function of converting the air pressure of the mechanical energy needed for the rotation. The burr or drill is fixed onto the turbine and rotates around the axis in high-speed.
How Does A High-Speed Dental Handpiece Work?
- The drill is primarily controlled by a footpad, it also acts as the on/off switch.
- Applying pressure on the footpad releases the compressed air is channelled into the pipe inlet, which is transfixed to the drill.
- The compressed air then reaches the chamber of the handpiece that houses the turbine.
- As the air attempts to escape the apparatus, it creates an effect that powers the turbine to rotate.
- The turbine’s rotation powers the burr to rotate as well.
- The burr is then used to perform a wide variety of dental tasks.
Like all machines, there is a possibility that the burr may malfunction or underperform. Here are some of the most common possibility of clinical defects:
- Judder – When a burr judders, it may cause excessive damage to the material being worked on. This also causes a very unpleasant experience for the patients involved in the procedure.
- Unconventional Cutting – Uncommon methods might sometimes be necessary depending on the case. The accuracy might be lessened.
- The decrease in Control – This usually occurred in uncommon cutting procedures.
Generally, the dental drill performs well and is very accurate. The list of clinical defects mentioned above has a low rate of happening. Dentists are trained in a wide variety of medical procedures that prevents clinical mishaps.
Due to the dental drill’s high-speed rotary force, and prolonged usage, the burr is prone to gathering heat. It is, therefore, necessary for the drill to have an effective water-cooling system.
Lighting and Illumination
Modern handpieces today have a light fixed near the burr. This is an efficient method, especially for surgery.
LED systems are used in modern dental drills, which has a longer working life compared to the old halogen bulbs.
Electric Powered Handpiece
These handpieces do not have the speed capability of air-driven turbines. To increase the power, and speed, gears are installed to the electric motors. These handpieces are also known as the Speed-increasing handpiece.
How does it work?
- The speed-increasing handpiece is powered by a Micromotor – an electric motor device.
- Internal gears are installed to maintain constant speed regardless of torque.
- The Micromotor and Internal Gears sum up the power source.
Main Difference Over Air-Driven Dental Drill
- Torque – The burr maintains a constant speed rate regardless of the pressure applied.
- Accuracy – As the speed increases, the torque decreases.
- Power – Provides consistent power dependent on electronic control settings.
When it comes to medical instruments of all kinds, proper disinfection, and sterilization should be prioritized at all times.
Being a mechanical device in nature, dental drills should be treated with disinfectant carefully. The internal mechanisms are lubricated, and disinfectants with alcohol contents will destroy the lubricants. The recommended method is to wash the components thoroughly with hydrogen hydroxide and in an Autoclave. Regular lubrication is also recommended.
The United States Food and Drug Administration classified burrs as “single-use device”, with the appropriate cleaning method, they can be re-used safely.
The Future of Dental Drills
In the 1990s alternative methods to conventional dental drills were developed. These include the utilization of laser technology called Laser Ablation. Another is the use or Air Ablation devices – mini sandblasters. And Ozone dental therapy.
Each method offers its own unique advantage and disadvantage over the other. Perhaps the best way that we can all benefit from these alternate options, is the diverse availability of dental treatment.