dental drill

Dental Drill: Everything You Should Know

A dental handpiece, also known as a dental drill, is a mechanical tool that dentists use to polish fillings, remove decay, and other dental-related tasks. The fact that it is a handheld device is where the name Handpiece originates.

The small electric motor found in dental handpieces, also known as a micromotor, rotates the shaft that is connected to it and can be used for a variety of dental procedures, including cutting.

What is Dental Drill?

The dental drill is a device that dentists use to clean and remove plaque from the surface of teeth as well as to bore through tooth enamel. An air turbine, a tungsten carbide drill bit, and a handpiece make up the majority of the device. The dental drill has transformed dentistry since its invention in the middle of the eighteenth century. With the aid of the modern dental drill, dentists can now work more quickly and precisely than ever before while causing the patient less pain.

What is a Dental Drill Used For?

Dentists use a dental drill or other tools to remove the plaque from a cavity in order to prevent these diseases. While the dental drill, sometimes known as a dental handpiece, is used to drill holes (preparing teeth for fillings), it is also used for removing the decay, polishing fillings, performing cosmetic dentistry, and altering prostheses.

What Are the Types of Dental Drills?

Of course, there are many different handpiece types in use today.

On the Basis of Rotating Speed, These Are 2 Types:

  1. High-Speed Dental Handpiece
  2. Low-Speed Dental Handpiece

The maximum rotational speed for the high-speed ones is 400,000 rpm, while the maximum rotational speed for the low-speed ones is 80,000 rpm.

On the Basis of Design, These Are 2 Types:

  1. Air-driven Handpieces
  2. Electric Handpiece

Air-driven handpieces typically fall under the high-speed category because air turbines move much more quickly than an electric dental motor. Also, the majority of electric handpieces operate at low speeds.

Electric handpieces are quieter and are powered by tiny electric dental motors known as micromotors, as opposed to air-driven handpieces, which are run by an air-driven turbine and are a little noisy.

What Are the Main Parts of a Dental Drill?

A modern handpiece is a highly complex technological device with numerous tiny components housed inside the casing.

Parts of a dental handpiece, some of the main and important parts of a dental drill are:


The primary rotating component of a handpiece is a rotor, which is connected to the outer shaft by a number of dental burrs.


Multiple bearings are present in a single handpiece. These enable shafts to rotate uninterruptedly and reduce friction by preventing shafts from coming into contact with the casing’s walls.

Deep groove ball bearings and angular contact ball bearings are the two most common types of bearings used.

Dental Hose

The dental hose is a piece of tubing that is connected to the dental unit in order to power the LED or Xenon bulbs with electricity, air, and water spray.

LED and Xenon Bulbs

To properly see the inside of the mouth, a light source is often mounted at the top of modern handpieces.

Back Cap

The dental drill’s back is sealed by a part known as the back cap. It appears to be quite small and is a part of air-driven drills.

dental drill

Keys & Wrenches

These keys and wrenches are not automatically included with the handpiece. The following are some tools for fixing the gadget.

Carbon Brush

The carbon brush is a small component that transfers an electrical current from a stationary component to a rotating component. These carbon brushes are part of the micromotors in electrical handpieces. However, the majority of modern micro dental motors are entirely brushless.

Other Dental Handpiece Repair Tools

Drills are very complex in their design, so the likelihood of a malfunction is also very high. Every company that manufactures dental handpieces has a variety of repair tools depending on the handpiece’s design.


The element that holds the dental burrs for use in drilling and grinding is called a chuck.

What is the Design of a Dental Drill?

Dental drills come in a variety of designs, but they all share the same fundamental components, including motors, handpieces, couplings, and drill bits. A turbine powered by air drives the high-speed drilling. Drill bits can spin at over 300,000 rpm thanks to these devices, which convert highly pressurized air into mechanical energy. Dental drills typically have secondary motors because slower speeds are also required for soft tissue drilling, polishing, and finishing. Electric motors and air-driven motors are typical examples.

The handpiece is typically a thin, tube-shaped device that joins the driving motor and drill bit. It frequently has an ergonomic design and is lightweight. Additionally, it has an E-shaped attachment that guarantees the drill bit is correctly angled for maximum system stability. Previously, these dental drill parts were quite delicate. Recently raised health issues, however, have compelled inventors to create handpieces that can withstand high-pressure steam sterilization. The couplings are used to attach the drill unit to the cooling water and electric or air power sources. Depending on the fitting, they may have two or four holes.

The most crucial component of the dental drill is the drill bit, also known as the bur. It is brief and incredibly tough, able to withstand high-speed rotation and the heat that results from it. It is possible to buy burs in a variety of shapes, each with a different level of drilling and cutting capacity. Even some burs have flutes for cutting diamonds. Some extra features, like coolant spray systems or lighting fixtures, could be added. The most advanced dental drill has a fiberoptic light source, an epicyclic gearbox that increases speed, and an internal cooling system.

What Are the Materials of Dental Drill?

Several different raw materials, including metals and polymers, are used to make dental drills. The handpiece, which houses the motors, gears, and drives shaft, can be constructed from either lightweight, hard plastics or metal alloys like brass. Titanium is used to create the most cutting-edge handpieces. One of the known hardest materials, tungsten carbide, is used to make the bur. The internal motors are made of other materials, such as steel. Flexible materials, like polymeric silicone or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), are used to make the tubing that connects the drill to the main power sources.

dental drill

Does a Dental Drill Hurt?

Your tooth, gums, and jaw will be numbed by a local anesthetic administered by your dentist (such as lidocaine, benzocaine, or epinephrine). So that it doesn’t hurt when the dentist starts to drill, these substances will prevent nerves from transmitting any pain signals from your mouth to your brain.

What is the Manufacturing Process of a Dental Drill?

A dental drill is made using an integrated process in which the individual parts are first made and then put together to create the finished item. While manufacturers could make each component separately, they typically rely on outside suppliers for many of the components. The formation of the handpiece, final assembly, packaging, and the construction of the motors and drill bits would be typical production techniques.


  • 1 The handpiece is made using a variety of designs and materials, but it is typically made using a pre-formed mold. This involves injection molding for plastic handpieces, which involves melting the plastic, injecting it into a mold, and then releasing it once it has hardened. A similar molding process is used to create metal handpieces.

Drill Bit

  • 2 The tungsten carbide particles are used to create the drill bits. In order to create tungsten oxides, tungsten ore must first undergo chemical processing. A fine tungsten metal powder is produced after hydrogen is added to the system to remove the oxygen. After being heated, this powder is mixed with carbon to create tungsten carbide particles of various sizes. To create the appropriate drill bit shape, these particles are put through additional processing.

Air Turbine Engine

  • 3 Small steel parts are used in the construction of the air turbine engine. One design places the turbine between two sets of ball-raced bearings and connects it to the drill bit directly. The drill head houses the entire apparatus and has openings for incoming and outgoing air. Various driveshafts and gears connect other types of turbine engines to the drill bit and are located higher up in the handpiece.

Low-powered Motors

  • 4 The construction of low-powered motors is very similar to that of air turbine engines. The core structure of the rotary vane air-powered motor has sliding vanes that project outward from it. It is put inside the handpiece and attached to the drill’s principal driveshaft. Additionally, it has a hole for air entering and leaving. Electric motors, which include a set of bearings, magnets, brushes, and armature coils, are significantly more complicated.

Final Assembly

  • 5 Final assembly can start as soon as all of the components are available. Depending on the design, the air turbine may be integrated into the handpiece’s casing or it may be affixed alongside the drill bit. The driveshaft, gears, control switches, electric or air motors, and other components of the drill are placed inside the handpiece. The cooling hoses and fiber optic lighting equipment are additional accessories. The drill bit is connected to one end of the handpiece, which has the coupler on the other.
  • 6 The finished drills are packaged appropriately and shipped to distributors with the accompanying accessories, manuals, and replacement parts after passing a number of quality checks.

How to Clean a Dental Drill?

There is no denying that modern dental equipment is expensive, and if it is not maintained properly, repairs are also not inexpensive. However, over time and with continued use, these will require repairs.

The drills need to be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis to ensure that they continue to function properly. Additionally, routine cleaning has decreased the likelihood of numerous unanticipated dangers.

The followings are some tips that are useful for the maintenance of a dental handpiece:

  • Wipe down after every single-use
  • Clean under running water if doesn’t look clean
  • Lubricate the moving parts regularly
  • Remove the burr after each use
  • Do not start without the burr
  • Sterilize the handpiece regularly
  • Clean & remove any kinds of bio-burden buildup
  • Always test on a paper towel before taking it into the mouth


Dental handpieces have not yet reached the point of saturation in terms of technological advancements. The device will have some fantastic features and functionality by the following year.

Dental drills are expensive and have a fairly complex design, so proper maintenance is necessary to keep costs down and operate safely.