Surgic Pro Oral Surgery Handpiece – Electric vs Air Driven

oral surgery handpiece critical dental australia

The oral surgery handpiece is one of the most commonly used handpieces in dentistry today. In many countries, dentists prefer high-speed air-driven pieces because they are generally cheaper to buy and more cost-effective to maintain. However, electrical handpieces such as the NSK Surgic Pro are gaining in popularity but how do they fare against air-driven models? Let’s take a closer look…


Firstly air-driven handpieces

In essence, air-driven handpieces operate using a turbine or ‘air’ energy to create a rotary or cutting motion. Because the technology has been around for several decades, air-driven dental handpieces are well-proven. As a result, many top manufacturers have had time to develop products with greater dependability and overall strength; and can offer them at lower prices.

Many air-driven handpieces are lighter in weight, feature a smaller head height and are arguably easier to handle than their electric counterparts. In many cases, this can translate into more comfortable user experience, reducing fatigue.

Dentists also report that they can ‘feel’ what they are doing more easily with an air-driven handpiece resulting in a more sensitive-driven surgical approach.

On the flip side of this, an air-driven oral-surgical handpiece tends to have a higher RPM speed but a lower torque, especially when compared to electrical handpieces. This does mean that they can become louder when undertaking surgical procedures often making a distinctive whirring noise that can become jarring to patients. Inevitably this is a big deal for patients with dental anxiety and can prove tricky when dentists work so hard to ensure that their dental practices are places where patients can come to experience a relaxing environment with stress-free treatment.


So what about electrical oral surgery handpieces?

Understandably, many dentists can feel uncertain about electrical handpieces like the NSK Surgical Pro. The learning curve can appear quite steep and involves not only getting to grips with the mechanical aspects of such a tool but also how it feels and handles.

Because electrical handpieces utilise a motor to drive the tool, this means that more often than not, the tool is heavier than many air-driven varieties. As a result, it does take some getting used to.

NSK surgic pro oral surgery handpiece critical dental australiaIn addition, and in the hands of an inexperienced practitioner, there is no change of sound when the bur comes into contact with the tooth. This makes it easier to apply increasing or uneven pressure on the tooth during cutting.

On the flip side, because electric handpieces provide a consistent but slower torque than their air-driven counterparts they don’t vary with the resistance of higher loads. As a result, an electric oral surgery handpiece like the NSK Surgic Pro produces a smoother and more precise cutting edge, due to the stability of the speed.


Talking of speed…

… electric-driven handpieces allow for the drill speed to be set to a precise RPM speed (usually anywhere between 100 and 40,000 rpm depending upon the make and model). This means that in some cases, the same tool can be used to carry out additional endodontic preparations where necessary.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of an electrical oral surgery handpiece is to the patient…

Although the recent introduction of ‘silence technology’ for air-driven motors means that they remain only slightly noisier at high revolutions than an electric model, it’s at the lower end where the difference is far more noticeable.

While the air-driven motor retains significant noise and vibration at low speeds, the equivalent speed on an electric motor like the NSK Surgic Pro would be virtually noise-free. For those patients suffering from dental anxiety or fear, this is huge and helps them to remain ‘treatment compliant’


So when it comes to renewing an oral surgery handpiece do you go electric or air-driven?

Of course, the costs of changing to electric can be quite considerable, especially if you have several workstations. Then there’s the learning curve – getting used to a new type of handpiece and how it handles is undoubtedly going to be time-consuming and at times frustrating.

That said, electric motors are quieter than their air-driven counterparts and there is some evidence to suggest that electric handpieces perform better than air-driven pieces with regards to cutting efficiency.

If you are undecided in the electric vs air-driven debate, it’s well worth considering if the costs in terms of the upgrade and learning curve, outweigh the benefits that patients could receive in terms of overall comfort and efficiency during oral surgical procedures.


At Critical Dental we have a range of air-driven and electrical oral surgery handpieces such as the NSK Surgic Pro. We also stock an extensive range of quality dental equipment and supplies from top brands. Why not download our catalogue today and see for yourself. Alternatively, call our experienced team on 02 8883 0674 where we’d be more than happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have, enabling you to make a fully-informed buying decision.

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