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Dental turbine: everything you need to know

Apr 08, 2022 | written by:

For many dental treatments, a turbine is an essential tool. Considering the wide choice of models featuring similar performance, let's try to clarify the most important features when choosing a device.

When is a turbine used and how does it work?

A turbine is a rotating instrument that works thanks to compressed air and can rotate at very high speeds of around 400,000 rpm. These features make the turbine an ideal tool for abrading or cutting tooth enamel and materials used in fixed prostheses. 

High speed produces a considerable amount of heat and therefore requires some form of cooling of the treatment area.  Irrigation with air and water is essential to avoid damaging the tooth pulp, keeping the heat generated by friction as low as possible.

It is generally best to have three or four irrigation points. These allow to obtain:

  •  a stable spray mist
  •  efficient cooling 
  • good visibility of the operating area in all operating conditions.

 Moreover, the spray action efficiently keeps the operating field clear of residues produced by the use of the turbine.

Inside the turbine there is a rotor with blades which, hit by the compressed air, will rotate. 

While using the turbine, the dentist acts on the foot control to adjust the operating pressure gradually and progressively. These adjustments drive the unit's speed up to the maximum achievable value.

In addition to the rotor, other important components of the dental turbine are the bearings - which must withstand friction throughout the life of the instrument. Together with proper handpiece lubrication, bearing quality contributes to a longer lifespan and ensures optimum performance.

How to maintain and optimise the performance of a dental turbine?

Regular lubrication and regular maintenance ensure longer life and consistent performance. We suggest following the manufacturer's instructions for any dynamic tool.

Today, there are devices on the market that carry out automatic lubrication and purging of the turbine and other rotating instruments. Devices like Thalya can handle the procedure easily. Cleaning, disinfection and drying phases are also possible with Thalya Plus Plus. By following the manufacturer's recommendations, the turbine is sterilized in an autoclave to complete the instrument reconditioning.

Dental turbine: what factors to consider when choosing one?

There are many aspects behind the choice of a turbine. Cost should be a consideration, while at the same time setting a quality threshold below which not to go. 

What are the key features that should matter to us? Anything that relates to the effectiveness and durability of the handpiece.

  1. The material
    The first element to consider is the material with which the turbine body was made. This must withstand considerable dynamic stress. It is therefore advisable to prefer materials characterised by mechanical resistance and lightness.
  2. The shape and surface finish
    The second aspect to consider when choosing a turbine is its shape and surface finish. The handle must be comfortable and ergonomic. To maintain hygienic conditions, it is important that the instrument surface is smooth and easy to clean and disinfect. 
  3. The size of the turbine head
    Finally, to choose a quality tool, the size of the turbine head should be considered. It will be easier for the dentist to introduce an instrument with a small head size into the patient's mouth. In addition, a small head means better visibility over the working field.
  4. Vibration and noise
    The noise and vibration of a poor quality turbine will cause a great deal of discomfort. High turbine noise levels will cause patient discomfort, especially in cases of anxious patients who fear dental procedures (stomatophobia). An acceptable noise level threshold should not exceed 60 dbA.

    If the construction quality of the turbine, obtained with precision mechanics, is of an acceptable level, vibrations will be minimal. The quality of the bearings also helps to reduce vibration and consequently, noise.
  5. Lighting
    The last point before our final conclusions concerns the quality of lighting, which must guarantee optimal working conditions. Today, turbines are generally equipped with an LED light source that reaches the head of the handpiece via optical fibres. LEDs are extremely durable and supply white light that does not alter the colour of teeth or tissues.

    Castellini produces a range of turbines characterised by high power and long life.  Thanks to the reduced level of vibration, to the construction quality of the instrument, the materials used and the equipment design, the noise level will not exceed 57 db.

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