All About Dental Drills
Ah, the dental drill … perhaps the most recognizable (and often feared) dental tool on the market. The dental drill is nothing to fear, however, despite the high-pitched whirling noise that seems to rattle your ears from the inside out. In fact, it’s one of the most useful technological advancements for oral health of all time. Plus, you can trust that dentists and hygienists (especially the ones at Gaston Dental Associates) are trained extensively on how to use this powerful tool safely and successfully.
So, what is a dental drill (aside from that noisy thing they use to drill holes in your teeth)? While the dental drill, sometimes known as a dental handpiece, is used to drill holes (preparing teeth for fillings), it is also used for removing decay, polishing fillings, performing cosmetic dentistry, and altering prostheses. It truly is one of the most handy dental tools out there (no pun intended).
There are two kinds of dental drills most commonly used: electric and turbine powered. The turbine-powered drills are the fastest out there. They use compressed air to rotate the drill head (known as a burr) over 180,000 rpm – that’s super-fast, and it’s the reason why these types of handpieces are known as highspeed drills. The torque of the burr used can vary, since the speed gets to be so high. And, since the turbine rotates the burr so quickly, it often requires the use of built-in water jets to keep it cool. As for the in-hand feeling of the drill, it’s pretty evenly weighted throughout the body. Some dentists really prefer the feeling of evenly distributed weight in their hands. Considering how much power this handpiece packs, it is often used in dental practices all over.
The other type of dental drill, the electric drill, is not quite as powerful, but still works great and has its own benefits. The electric dental drill, also known as an increasing-speed drill, is powered by an electric motor called a micromotor. Inside the handpiece are internal gearings which allow the friction grip burr (also used with the turbine powered drill) to rotate at a constant speed, independent of torque. This means the power is provided by the internal motor and the gears inside. As far as how it feels in the hand, the end of the drill with the motor in it tends to be a bit heavier. Some dentists prefer this feeling, some prefer the more evenly-distributed feel of the turbine-powered drill. This drill also doesn’t get as hot as the turbine-powered drill, lessening the amount of extra gadgets required to use it.
Although the handpieces are essential and quite fascinating, perhaps it is the burrs that offer the most diversity and usage for the dental drills. The burrs can range anywhere from cone shaped, cylindrical, rounded, square-edged, obtuse angled, to acute angled. Each type of burr has its own specific reason for its shape – whether drilling holes, scraping, shaping, or more.
If you want to learn more about the different types of dental drills out there, be sure to ask one of the Docs here at Gaston Dental Associates. We would love to go more in-depth about the tools we use to make your smile better! Give us a call at (704) 396-6166 if you have any questions or if you’d like to set up an appointment. You can always reach us by clicking here as well!