The dental handpiece is an instrument that uses air or electricity to generate a rotary cutting motion, similar to how a drill operates. Often, handpieces are organized by speed range (high speed or low speed) which determines the applications that are suitable. Typical high speed applications include cutting tooth structure and finishing restorations while low speed handpieces have a range of applications including endodontics, implantology, caries removal and prophylaxis. Air-driven high speed, handpieces typically do not exceed 400,000 rpms, while air-driven low speed handpieces typically operate under 40,000 rpms. Electric handpieces offer the advantage of more torque, which can translate to smooth, consistent cutting ability across a wide range of speeds.
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