To replace, or not to replace – dental burs
Whether, or not, to throw away dental burs following use on each patient seems to be a polarizing subject. Most folks, like myself, just hate to throw away what appears to be a perfectly adequate cutting instrument. Taking a look at the problem from the Handpiece’s point of view may help with your decision.
At 350,000 – 500,000 revolutions per minute, the dental handpiece turbine is in somewhat of a delicate state when in operation. There are two, very damaging, affects the dental bur can have on the turbine while in this condition:
- Turbine bearing failure due to bur eccentricity causing high vibration, which is highly compounded at the operating speeds of a dental handpiece. Slight bends in used dental burs which would be undetectable by the human eye will cause high vibration.
- Dulling burs require more axial pressure exertion via the doctors hand, which can cause rotating turbine (usually impeller) to come into contact with stationary handpiece head.
“Spoil your handpiece and your hand using new dental burs with each patient!”
At a couple dollars for a bur and turbines which can cost as much as $300, the trade off is certainly worth considering. Consider also, that a new carbide bur or two for every patient will add speed and efficiency, fewer post op patient symptoms, and is much easier on the doctor’s hand, requiring much less pressure for the desired result.
Buying carbide dental burs in bulk can drop the price into the $1 range (see below for excellent deals on Ebay), which certainly makes this approach feasible. Remember also, that the time taken for cleaning and sterilizing dental burs may now be used elsewhere.
So, spoil your handpiece and your hand using new carbide dental burs with each patient! Some brands to remember are SS White carbide burs, Coltène Whaledent’s Alpen burs, and Microcopy’s complete line of NeoBurs and NeoDiamonds.
See also Buying New Handpieces? for the importance of dental bur cooling.