What to look for in a dental turbine
The dental handpiece—be it a turbine or contra angle—is the single most important instrument in the hands of a dental professional. Well, according to Chris Jobson from W&H anyway… (He’s somewhat passionate about handpieces!). Handpieces are used in virtually every procedure from complex restorative treatments, oral surgery and implant placement to prophylactic treatments such as dental hygiene.
The design of a handpiece is much akin to the artist’s brush. You wouldn’t use a fence brush to paint a modern masterpiece, yet some dentists areunknowingly using heavy, unbalanced handpieces with poor lighting of the treatment area while attempting to perform precision procedures. In the absence of detailed product knowledge, dentists can be easy victims to marketing claims and buzzwords, or make decisions based purely on price. This can be a mistake that impedes optimum outcomes for both them and their patients. Chris Jobson who has both clinical and years of equipment experience with leading European handpiece manufacturer, W&H, offers these pointers to find the perfect dental turbine: “When working in the cramped oral cavity, the mantra of W&H has always been ‘access and visibility equals better dentistry’—by reducing the variables, you have greater control.” Jobson says this mandates a small head size (diameter and height) without compromising performance, and a short overall length of both turbine and coupling together.
The handpiece must be properly balanced with a compact coupling to avoid putting too much weight on the rear of the turbine, which compromises control of the cutting bur. Some ‘premium’ handpiece brands weigh up to 50 per cent more than W&H when connected to their respective couplings, and worse still, most of the ‘total’ weight is in the coupling and rear of the handpiece. This causes the dentist to exert more pressure to keep the handpiece ‘balanced’ when cutting, increasing muscular fatigue and making a precision procedure such as finishing fine margins more stressful. For example, the Synea Vision with 5 LED ring light weighs just 58 grams with coupling. An equivalent premium brand weighs a hefty 88 grams in total with their heavy coupling which puts most of the weight on the back of the turbine.
The coupling should also freely With five high-intensity LEDs in the small instrument head, the Synea Vision turbine swivel on the turbine to avoid handpiece tubing ‘bind’—that is, when rotating the handpiece to align with the various surfaces of the tooth, you will ‘twist’ the handpiece tubing. If the turbine and coupling don’t freely swivel, you’ll feel the additional ‘pull’ at the handpiece as the tubing attempts to untwist itself. W&H’s Roto Quick coupling has super smooth rotation to eliminate this binding, thereby reducing the strain to the hand. LED lights should be located in the head of the handpiece to deliver unobstructed ‘daylight’ quality colour temperature matching a daylight balanced overhead light source such as the award winning A-dec LED operatory light. The innovative W&H Synea ‘Vision’ ring LED turbine is the only turbine producing shadowless daylight balanced light (5500 degrees Kelvin) right at the treatment site where it is needed. Other turbines using early technology glass rod delivery of light from the LED in their coupling have a reduction in both light intensity and colour rendition and will always create shadowing of the bur. Performance is a given in quality handpiece brands but with today’s minimally invasive dentistry philosophy, it’s not the #1 feature dentists are looking for. Noise output is a given for air-driven turbines with no big differences between the premium brands. But what is noticeable is the pitch of some brands—that annoying high-speed whine, that is very off-putting to the patient and annoying for the dental team. Our advice is to try a number of brands of handpieces; evaluating those points above that best resonate with you. I’m confident you’ll find our W&H offering best suits your individual requirements. For advice on the best W&H turbine and handpiece for your application, contact Dental Concepts on: [email protected] 08 8177 0600