Air-Driven Handpieces CATEGORY DESCRIPTION
Air-driven high-speed handpieces provide higher speeds but lower torque than electric handpieces. Power from air-driven handpieces is delivered to the bur via a turbine regulated by air less than 30 to 45 pounds per square inch. These handpieces generally operate at speeds between 250,000 rpm and 420,000 rpm (and decrease in speed when they meet resistance).
Depending upon the size of the head (mini-head, standard, and high-torque), air-driven handpieces provide 12 to 18 Watts of cutting power (torque). Mini-heads offer nearly 14 Watts of torque, and are ideal for pedodontic restorations, endodontic access, and treatment of second or third molars. Standard heads are considered effective overall handpieces, and are useful for crown and bridge preparation, and most other treatments performed in average practices. They provide 15 to 17 Watts of power, but need greater clearance than mini-heads, and tend to obscure more of the field. High-torque heads, with almost 18 Watts of torque, are indicated for tasks such as removing nonprecious crowns or heavy amounts of crown and bridge.
The 4-hole connector has been standard for air-driven handpieces, and manufacturers have now introduced quick-disconnect couplings to enable recommended autoclaving of the handpieces between patients.
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