Hand pieces have long been a crucial tool in the dental office. The first air-driven hand tools were introduced just over 60 years ago. With this advancement, dental care – from simple cleanings to tooth preparation and more – was revolutionized. Since then, the technology has been and continues to be, improved upon. At National Dental Douglaston, we use the latest techniques and technology available, including electric handpieces.


For several decades, the handpieces used in dental offices, including ours, were air-driven. However, research and technological developments have led to the creation of electric handpieces, which you can now find in our office. The way in which these tools work has been compared to an electric drill. Handpieces operate at different speeds, depending upon your specific need. For example, low-speed handpieces are used to polish teeth, remove the decay from cavities, and endodontic treatment, whereas higher speeds are reserved for tasks such as preparing your tooth for a crown.


With electric handpieces, we can preset speeds for certain procedures right into the tools. For instance, we polish composite resin at 6,000 to 8,000 RPM, which is important to avoid the generation of heat. We can preset speeds for this type of polishing, along with polishing for ceramic restorations (which is done at a higher speed than the speed for composite resin), endodontic treatment, tooth preparation and so much more. For speeds not present, we can dial in the exact speed we need. These features get rid of the guesswork associated with finding the appropriate speeds on an air-driven handpiece.


A disadvantage of air-driven handpieces is that they are known to balk, stall or slow down when operating at lower speeds, in use for long periods of time, or cutting through harder materials such as ceramic. This can negatively impact your treatment. Electric handpieces have consistent torque while in use and don’t face these same issues.


There are many people out there who suffer from anxiety over visiting the dentist, even for something as simple as a cleaning and exam. Air-driven handpieces are notorious for their loud noise, and this noise can exacerbate your anxiety further. Even with the improvements that have been made to air-driven handpieces over the years, the air turbines are still quite noisy.

A fear of the dental office can have dire consequences on your oral health. Skipping routine cleanings increases your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Without oral exams, small, easily treatable conditions, such as small fractures or cavities, only get worse, resulting in the need for more invasive procedures. Electric handpieces are significantly quieter than their air-driven counterparts. Less noise means less anxiety for many patients and will allow you to sit much more comfortably in the chair while we perform your necessary procedures.

Electric handpieces are valuable tools in our office that go a long way in our mission to provide you with the best possible oral health care. Contact National Dental Douglaston today at (718) 557-9882 to learn more!