Well, it isn’t a gun for dentists, but it is a very important tool for them to use. You’ve probably seen it every time you go in for a dentist appointment, but a dental handpiece is what the dentist holds while manipulating other tools. Then, other tools can be inserted inside of it and allow the dentist to have more leverage and a better angle for procedures.

The handpiece has also been called a dental drill, as it does provide the ability for the handle to rotate. But it is the go too tool for many dentists because it can fill many different needs depending on which head is attached.

The dental handpieces are either air turbines, which are powered by compressed air. The air then goes up the handpiece and into the top to rotate a small windmill. That mill also rotates whatever head is attached to it, so it can either provide a powerful drill engine to cut into a tooth or provide a buffer like sensation to chip away at the plaque and polish the tooth’s surface.

dental handpieces

Electric motors work the same way, but use electric energy instead of compressed air. The electric motors can’t turn as fast as the air counterparts and require gears that take the electrical power from the motor and help speed the tip up at constant speeds.  Because of the extra speed needed to power an electric handpiece, it does have some advantage and disadvantages with certain tools, but either one can do a great job.

Whichever handpiece a dentist uses, it has several customization options that allow it to become an effective multitool, and some even come equipped with lights and water sprays. So if you don’t see a dentist with a handpiece, you might not be in the right office!