The dental drill is one of the most important dental instruments ever invented. It is drill is largely used all over the world, dentists need it in order to bore through tooth enamel (treating cavities) and to clean and remove plaque from the tooth’s surface (for aesthetic purposes or to prepare the teeth for facets).
The appearance of this instrument in the field of dentistry was a true revolution and it attracted a huge process of inventing and producing dental spare parts. We decided to present you an overview of dental drills and the process of their creation.
If you ever decide to buy dental tools, you’ll see that a lot of different designs of dental drills are available on the market. However, they all have the same basic features, like motors, a handpiece, couplings, and a drill bit. An air turbine activates the high-speed drilling (invented a while ago and so popular at the moment, that is used in most dental instruments). These devices transform highly pressurized air into mechanical energy, making it possible for drill bits to rotate over 300,000 rpms. Dental drills are typically equipped with secondary motors, too, because slower speeds are also necessary (usually for polishing, finishing, and soft tissue drilling). That’s why, frequently, dental drills include both electric motors and air-driven motors.
One of the most important parts of the dental drill is the handpiece – a slender, tube-shaped device that fastens the drill bit with the driving motor. It is often featherweight and organically designed. There are some interested handpiece parts, like the E-shaped attachment (its role is to provide the proper angle of the drill, for maximum system stability). The latest health concerns have forced designers to create handpieces that can withstand high-pressure steam sterilization, in order to avoid spreading infections through dental procedures. Other handpiece parts, like the couplings, consisting of two or four holes, are used to connect the drill unit to the electric or air power sources and cooling water.
Another critical handpiece part is the drill bit (also called bur). It is short and highly durable, capable to resist to both the heat the high-speed rotation. A lot of bur shapes are manufactured, each with varying cutting and drilling abilities, some of them being designed with diamond cutting flutes. Supplementary features, such as coolant spray systems or illumination devices, can be added to them. The most complicated dental drill has an internal cooling system, an epicyclic speed-increasing gearbox, and fibre-optic illumination.
Dental drills are made from a long list of raw materials, including metals and polymers. The handpiece, which houses the motors, gears, and drives shaft, can be made from materials ranging from lightweight/hard plastics to metal alloys (like brass), even titanium. The bur is made of tungsten carbide, one of the hardest substances known. Other materials such as steel are used for the internal motors. The tubing that connects the drill to the main power sources is made of a flexible material, such as polymeric silicone or polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
The materials influence the lifespan, the maintenance and the functionality of the dental drill, so you have to be really careful if you decide to buy dental tools or dental spare parts. Some special precautions should be taken into account if you decide to buy dental tools online. Be sure you make a consistent research on materials and manufacturers of the instruments you want to buy.
The manufacturing process
The production of a dental drill is an interspersed process – individual components are made first and then assembled to create the final product. Manufacturers could make each part individually, but they usually depend on outside suppliers for many of the parts. A typical production method would include constructing the motors and the drill bits, forming the handpiece, final assembly, and packaging.
Albeit a lot of designs and materials are used to make the handpiece, typically they are all made using a mold. For plastic handpieces, this requires injection molding. To do this, the plastic is melted, injected into a mold, and released after it forms. Metal handpieces are regularly created through comparable methods.
- · Drill bit
The drill bits are made from tungsten carbide particles. Tungsten ore is chemically processed to produce tungsten oxides. The oxygen is then removed by adding hydrogen to the system, thus obtaining a fine tungsten metal powder. The last one is blended with carbon and heated, producing tungsten carbide particles of different sizes, which are further processed to form the appropriately shaped drill bit.
- · Air turbine engine
The air turbine engine is constructed from small steel components. In one design, the turbine is caught between two sets of ball raced bearings and connected directly to the drill bit. The whole unit is restricted in the drill head, with openings for incoming air and exhaust air. Other types of turbine engines are farther up in the handpiece and are connected to the drill bit by a series of driveshafts and gears.
- · Low-powered motors
The low-powered motors are constructed similarly to the air turbine engines. The rotary vane air-powered motor subsids of a core structure with sliding vanes pointing outward. It is placed in the handpiece and linked to the main drive shaft of the drill. It also has openings for incoming and outgoing air, similar to the air turbine engine. Electric motors, consisting of a set of bearings, magnets, brushes, and armature coils are more complex, their structure being elaborate.
When all the components are finished, the time for the final assembly comes. Depending on the design, the air turbine can be put directly into the casing of the handpiece or it can be connected along with the drill bit. The other parts of the drill are included into the handpiece, including air or electric motors, driveshaft, gears, and control switches. Other accessories are added, such as the cooling hoses and fibre optic lighting devices. On one end of the handpiece, the coupler is placed, one the other end the drill bit is attached. A series of quality checks are performed, and the finished drills are placed in the corresponding packaging with accessories, manuals, and replacement parts, then shipped to distributors all around the world.