MC Dental: Know your Handpieces (Ergonomics)

How to choose the right handpiece for you

There are a multitude of handpieces available on the market today. A large proportion of them are well designed and fall within a similar price band. But how can you reduce the number of potential pitfalls and come to an informed decision as to which handpiece will suit you and your needs the best? It’s simple, try before you buy. Read on for advice on how to choose the best handpiece for you, still unsure then


Often overlooked, but most important of all. The physical compatibility of a turbine, straight or contra-angle handpiece design is absolutely integral to both your comfort and your patients.

Consider it like a pen; we all like different styles and designs of pens. Some will fit more comfortably in your hand than others. One that is not suitable will make your hand ache and reduce the quality of writing.

With a dental handpiece, the effect is even greater. Working at awkward angles with an unsuitable handpiece can be physically and mentally draining. Putting strain on your hand and wrist can make your elbow, shoulder and ultimately your back ache. As with choosing the wrong pen, choosing the wrong handpiece can reduce the quality of the end result.

Swivel connections are offered by most handpiece manufacturers. A handpiece with this type of connection, when placed on a coupling, will allow the handpiece to rotate through 360 degrees. This allows you to accurately choose the angle of the handpiece, increasing comfort and giving you a better angle to work. Whilst swivel connection handpieces go some way to making your choice more ergonomically suitable, the size and feel of the handpiece is the most important factor. Purely down to personal preference, the weight and size of a handpiece you require are usually closely linked to hand size and strength. Try to test out a variety of handpieces.

Dentistry shows, demonstration handpieces, colleagues or other dentists within your area are all great sources of equipment to try out first hand.

Finally, it is very easy to assume that a visually well-designed handpiece will be more comfortable and perform better. But a handpiece which looks aesthetically pleasing may not be the most comfortable for you to use or indeed the best in terms of performance. Choose what feels the most comfortable and natural for you and try to get opinions on the performance of handpieces or brands in which you are interested. The best way you can make an informed decision is to experience a range of handpieces and try to become aware of what feels comfortable.

Out next post in the ‘Know your Handpieces’ series will start to divulge into the price and performance of handpieces.

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