Electric handpiece – alternative to classic air driven handpiece
The differences between air driven and electric handpieces are being discussed more and more often among dental professionals. On one side electric handpiece has a modest speed of 200,000 rpm and air driven handpiece on the other side with significantly higher speed of 350,000 rpm. But what other features define a really good handpiece?
Speed vs. Dental Handpieces
When talking about speed, ability to maintain optimum speed should be mentioned because this ability is crucial for high quality cutting. With air driven handpieces , as their turbine slows down, they lose their cutting ability. Whereas electric handpiece is able to sustain stable torque at the required speed range. For example Fiber optic handpiece KaVo type , with speed increasing coupling is able to deliver stable torque on diverse speeds, up to 200,000 rpm and more.
It’s All about the Money
Yes, electric handpieces can deliver optimum speed and are able to work at high torque, but the price for this type of dental handpiece appears to be quite high. As stated in ADA Professional Product Review  , electric handpieces will cost two to three times that of a high-speed air turbine handpiece depending on the brand and the number of attachments purchased. You should also keep in mind, that apart from being able to cut well on high speeds, electric handpieces are making less noise in comparison with air driven ones, and they also do not require multiple air lines.
And this is a case to support this idea, yes, size really matters with handpieces. The core issue is that electric handpieces “weigh 50 percent to 100 percent more than high speed air turbine handpieces.” , which makes them noticeably uneasy to use. Whereas air driven handpieces tend to be twice lighter and hence easier to handle when working with one.
Future of Electric Handpieces in Dental Practice
Electric handpiece has definitely deserved it’s place in contemporary dental practice, it takes time to learn how to use one but due to perspective of better results it’s worth trying. One huge advantage with electric handpieces, for dental professionals out there, is it’s ability to cut faster and being more durable. All in all, both handpieces , electric and air driven, have their own benefits. Electric handpiece serves well for crown prepping, it’s quick and efficient, and air driven handpieces are a perfect fit for basic day to day usage.
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1. ADA Professional Product Review, vol.2, Issue 3, p. 1