Dental turbines are highly specialized air driven turbines used mainly in high speed handpieces, and in limited cases, low speed handpieces, such as the Midwest Shorty and Midwest Tru-torque turbine and ring driven handpieces made by Dentsply.
Dental Turbines Contain Multiple Components
- Front Bearing
- Rear Bearing
The Star 430 SWL turbine pictured above shows front and rear bearings pressed onto either end of the rotor, seated against the blue impeller. Chuck is integral to the rotor, in this case an auto chuck with pushbutton which can be seen on the left end. Dental turbines utilize varying type, size, shape, and material o-rings. The green O-rings pictured are specific to Star Dental, and are made of viton, which is highly resistant to the rigors of the application. O-rings are pictured resting on top of bearings which helps to seat and seal the turbine assembly inside handpiece head. In other turbines, like the Kavo 642, o-rings may be housed in grooves within the handpiece head and back cap. Spring clips and washers are also sometimes used to complete the assembly of dental turbines which help ensure proper orientation of components.
Quality Dental Turbines
High speed dental turbines typically rotate at speeds of approximately 400,000 revolutions per minute (rpm). Slow speed dental turbines typically rotate at speeds varying from 5,000 rpm to 20,000 rpm. Because of the specialized nature, very high speeds, and extremely rigorous use of dental turbines, manufacturers must adhere to very high standards of quality in materials and workmanship. Small variations can result in large changes in speed, vibration, torque, and ultimately life expectancy.
High Torque Dental Turbines
Handpiece manufacturers design handpieces around the most efficient, highest power producing dental turbines that current technology allows. Speed and torque are king where dental handpieces are concerned, and competition is fierce. Rotors and impellers are designed, and balanced to exacting specifications. Dental turbines consisting of larger impellers typically deliver higher torque.Â Dental bearings are manufactured with no less attention to detail, and are typically the first component subject to failure. See Dental Handpiece Torque – Size Matters for more on selecting the correct dental handpieces for your practice.