Dentists have an important and challenging job. Teeth are as important to good health as any other part of the body. It’s not just about a good smile. Bacteria in decaying teeth can get into the bloodstream and travel to any other part of the body where they can cause all kinds of health problems. Like any specialist, dentists have a variety of tools to help them do their jobs. Fairly or unfairly, the one most people associate with dentists is the drill. It’s really an underrated piece of equipment.
How a Drill Works
The dentist drill may make you think of the electric drill you used in shop class or may have sitting in your garage. They are in the same family, but the dental variety is more sophisticated. Drilling teeth requires great precision. These drills have many intricate parts such as dental ball bearings.
Dental drill bits are called burs and they are made from tungsten. This is a tough metal that can grind away tooth enamel when spun at high speeds. This enables the dentist to enlarge a cavity enough to firmly set a filling. The handpiece of the drill contains a set of gears that transfer motion from the motor to the bur.
Types of Power
Some drills are powered by electric motors. These turn at about 30,000 rpm, a high speed indeed. Drills get very hot when doing their job so they are usually cooled by a water supply. A very popular type of drill is the turbine drill which is powered by compressed air. These turn the bur at more than 300,000 rpm. Their ultra-high speed makes them very efficient.
A trip to the dentist can make you anxious especially when the drill comes out. But if stop to think what a marvel of engineering a dentist’s drill is, perhaps your fear will be replaced with respect.