ind out everything you need to know about the latest handpieces on the market. Overall, there are six main factors we consider:

  1. Type
  2. Speed
  3. Lifespan
  4. Maintenance
  5. Service
  6. Price

What’s the deal with dental handpieces?

A staple in the average dentists’ toolkit. Arguably the most vital instrument to the practice of modern dentistry. Yet, choosing the right one(s) for the office can be a nightmare. Here, you’ll find a great introduction to dental handpieces including what to know and look for when on the market for one(or more). We’ve done the heavy lifting and also found you some of the best dental handpieces that can help you add value to your practice and patient care in the long run.

What to look for in dental handpieces

With any investment, understanding why you need what you need will always help clarify the best options to move forward with. The same thing applies to dental handpieces. With the 1001+ different things going on in your practice, and the limited amount of time you have, you need a set of criteria that will help you make the best decision in the least amount of time.

Use the following criteria, and you’ll be on your way to the right set of handpiece(s) for your team in no time.


Dental handpiece technology has come a long way over the last few decades. One of the most important changes for you to know is the difference between Electric and Air-driven handpieces:

  • Electric
  • Power up to 200,000 RPM
  • Can be used for both high and low-speed procedures
  • Better, more consistent cutting action as a result of stronger torque
    Watch out for overheating
  • Air-Driven
  • Power up to 400,000 RPM
  • Generally offer fast cutting time due to high speeds
  • In some cases, bur speed can slow down resulting in a decrease in cutting performance


  • Low-Speed
  • Used for more heavy-duty work like removal of caries, preparation for crowns, fillings etc
  • Used often for orthodontic and restorative work
  • Tend to last longer
  • Can also use for endodontic, implant, and prophylaxis treatments
  • High-Speed
  • Used for precision treatments like shaping fillings, polishing, and a variety of other restorative work
  • Most commonly air-driven handpieces
  • Important to ensure an effective water cooling system as high-speed handpieces heat up very quickly and often (due to the speed at which they operate)
  • Many high-speed handpieces come with illumination in the form of light in close proximity to the burr. This helps with better vision and precision


The lifespan of dental handpieces can vary depending on multiple factors. Usually, you can consider a 5 to 7 year timeframe before considering a new one

  • Warranty
  • With any purchase of a higher price tag, a warranty policy should always be considered.
  • How long does the warranty last?
  • What does the warranty cover?
  • How can I make use of the warranty if I need to?


Every handpiece comes with maintenance instructions that are designed to give you the most out of your handpieces. Study them carefully. Different handpieces may have different maintenance protocols so be careful if you are considering multiple handpiece types from different brands


Customer service is key when it comes to any longer-term investment. If you find that a company has excellent service, then you know that it’s in their best interest to make sure you have the best possible experience with your handpiece. If you aren’t fond of the service at a company, that may also be a sign of how your relationship may be in the future if you do decide to purchase with them


As a dentist in an environment that is not only booming with competition, but is at risk of being commoditized, you need to make sure your costs are kept at a minimum. This does not mean that you must go for the cheapest stuff all the time. Sometimes a more costly investment upfront can mean a fortune in savings over the long term. Think carefully about how you can find the best quality handpieces for the right price without breaking-bank or unnecessarily taking away from your bottom line over time

Kumail Janmohamed

Dent247 Editorial Staff

March 1, 2021
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