SMARTmatic combines trusted KaVo quality with the latest in smart technology
Most DPS readers remember a time when the word “smart” was used to describe a human attribute. As humans we rely on electronics in our day-to-day and professional lives, but who could have imagined that some day we’d expect our electronics to be at least as smart as we are? Dental instruments are no exception, and practitioners now depend upon manufacturers to provide them with smart technology that makes already reliable instruments even more effective, efficient, and user friendly. Joining the smart technology arena is KaVo’s SMARTmatic series of low-speed handpieces, which unite KaVo quality with smart features for optimal ease of use and clinical excellence.
In this DPS review, several general practitioners tested the SMARTmatic S20 handpiece along with the INTRAmatic 181M Quick Disconnect Air Motor. The SMARTmatic S20 is a lightweight, ergonomically designed low-speed air handpiece with 1:1 transmission and a maximum operating speed of 40,000 rpm. The sterilizable 181M motor features a speed range of up to 20,000 rpm, forward/reverse speed adjustment, and an adjustable water spray filter.
When Dr. Robert Miller was looking for a handpiece that allowed him to easily change slow-speed burs, he found that the SMARTmatic offered “excellent ease of use with push button bur changing and interchangeable heads.” He described it as an excellent handpiece that’s “very light but powerful and has outstanding torque.”
Ease of Operation and Cleaning/Sterilization
Most evaluators agreed that the handpiece and motor were easy to use and easy to sterilize. “This handpiece worked well, it felt good in my hand and cut very well,” said Dr. Robert Klein, who rated all features as excellent. Regarding the smoothness of the handpiece’s operation, Frank Chiu, DDS, said, “When it’s on, it runs smoothly;” Dr. James Cooper praised its “smooth turbine with no vibration;” and Dr. Cynthia Leung shared, “I like the quick disconnect and smoothness of operation.” When asked what features she found most beneficial, Dr. Leung said it was easy to switch handpieces during a procedure, there was less chattering during use, and the handpiece is lightweight. She also remarked, “The single-piece, stainless steel construction does help to facilitate cleaning and sterilization.”
Handpiece Ergonomics: Balanced/Lightweight Design
The SMARTmatic series is designed to provide better visibility and balance, with the small head dimensions enabling the best view of the treatment area. According to KaVo, it’s lightweight for less hand fatigue with extremely durable ball bearings. “It rotates very easily and freely, reducing wrist tension,” said Dr. Lance Huthwaite, and Dr. Chiu agreed that “it feels better in my hand.”
Feedback about the weight of the handpiece was mostly positive, with a few evaluators stating that it was too heavy. Maricelle Abayon, DDS, said, “I loved its lightweight design, which reduced the strain on my hands when I’m working,” and Dr. Leung mentioned, “This product is definitely lighter than most handpieces and easy to change.” On the other hand, Dr. Richard Lezell said that it was slightly heavier than the previous model but still ergonomic, and Dr. Huthwaite said, “I felt it was too heavy and bulky.”
While not specifically asked to rate or provide feedback on overall efficacy of the SMARTmatic handpiece, several evaluators weighed in on this topic with remarks about a number of features. Dr. Chiu, who told DPS he was hoping to find a system that offered a reliable slow-speed handpiece, tested the SMARTmatic and determined, “It feels very solid.”
Dr. Leung, who rated all features as excellent, commented, “The smoothness of the burs creates a better experience for the patients,” and Dr. Abayon explained that she used it routinely for removing caries in dentin after gross debridement. When asked what he’d liked to see improved Dr. Miller said he’d like the unit to have a light source.
In addition to feedback about ease of operation, ergonomics, and efficacy, a few evaluators commented on the quiet operation of the SMARTmatic. Dr. Miller described the unit as “extremely quiet for an air powered slow speed,” and went on to tell DPS that he “sometimes had to turn off the suction just to make sure the handpiece was working.” Calling it “an excellent KaVo product,” Dr. Lezell concluded, “It works as well as anything on the market, [and with the] same excellent service as previous models.”