The pros and cons of each including repair and ease of use
Many dentists are familiar with both electric and air driven handpieces, but there are those who aren’t. We’ve made a pros and cons list for each, describing characteristics such as ease of use and air driven and electric handpiece repair.
Electric handpieces often have a large range of speed control which means they can be used for both high and low speed procedures with a simple change of attachments. They are also much quieter and have a steadier, constant flow making it easier to do continuous work. Also, regular repair of the electric handpiece is generally not needed.
Some find the electric handpiece heavier, which can cause fatigue during a long procedure, or after completing many procedures in a day. However, some argue that any fatigue felt is due to an improper holding technique of the piece and that if it is held correctly, fatigue won’t be a problem.
The electric handpieces are prone to overheating, which carries the risk of burning patients. Overheating is not an issue with air driven handpieces. Even if the electric pieces do not need maintenance as often as the air driven pieces, a major repair of the electric handpiece will be required if it is causing harm to patients.
Some dentists actually prefer the lower torque of air handpieces. This makes them less prone to create accidental tooth damage as there might be with the excessive torque of the electric/highspeed pieces. The air driven handpieces are also easier and cheaper to repair than the electric handpieces.
They are certainly much louder than their highspeed counterpart. The high frequency squeal that will haunt you from your memories as a child in the dentist’s chair is caused by air driven handpieces. It has been known to generate fear in patients and general annoyance. Air driven handpieces are also less precise than electric ones.
There are further differences, but we’ve highlighted the main points. There are obvious differences between the two – where one is lacking, the other is at an advantage. For example, the electric piece won’t need as much repairing, whereas the air driven handpiece would probably require more repairs, even though they wouldn’t be that serious. It is best to consider their strengths given each situation.