Purchasing Guide: Slow Speed Handpiece

Purchasing Guide: Slow Speed Handpiece

Feb 27,2024

The Handpiece is one of the most essential tools for the dentists’ work. The invention of the handpiece also takes a great step in dental practice progress. Especially, air-driven handpiece was introduced into the dental field which transformed the dental profession, technology. With the development of technology, handpieces are divided into two major types: low speed handpieces(slow speed handpiece) and high speed handpieces. Today, I will talk about slow speed handpiece.

What is slow speed dental handpiece?

A slow speed dental handpiece is a dental tool used for the removal of caries, refining a cavity preparation, performing prophylaxis, and other endodontic and implant procedures. Equipping with an inbuilt motor, it operates at a speed of up to 80,000 rpm.
When the handipiece is used with some attachments which could show different functions:

Attachment Function
Straight attachments Extraoral (out of the mouth) procedures such as trimming dentures
Contra-angle attachments Intraoral or extraoral procedures to remove decay, polish amalgam restorations,
refine cavity preparation, adjust crowns and bridges and adjust dentures.
Prophylaxis angle attachments Hold a prophy cup, bristle brush as part of cleaning, polishing procedures

How do they work?

Like the high speed handpiece, an airline would be attached to the end of the low speed handpiece.
When the dentist works on the chair’s pedal, the air is introduced into the handpiece and starts to flow through the vanes of the rotor.
 After the air moves around the rotor, it also is forced out through the handpiece’s back and exhaust port.

How long will a low speed handpiece last?

Compared with high speed handpiece, slow speed handpiece can have long spans. It’s because it owes low operating speeds and different designs. Furthermore, It should get professional maintenance conducted every 6-12 months.

Contra-angle Handpiece, Driver  speed ratio 4 : 1, Max rotation speed 5000rpm


Choosing the Right Slow Speed Handpiece

When considering purchasing a slow speed handpiece, there are several factors to keep in mind to ensure you're investing in the right tool for your dental.

Ergonomics and Comfort

Since dental procedures can be lengthy, it's essential to choose a handpiece that feels comfortable and reduces strain on the dentist's hand and wrist.

Versatility and Compatibility

Ensure that it is compatible with a wide range of attachments and accessories, allowing you to perform various procedures seamlessly. Some handpieces come with interchangeable heads for different functions such as polishing, prophylaxis, or endodontic procedures, providing added flexibility in your practice.

Durability and Maintenance

While slow speed handpieces generally have longer lifespans compared to high-speed counterparts, durability is still a critical consideration. Opt for models constructed from high-quality materials such as stainless steel or titanium, which offer increased durability and resistance to corrosion. 

Speed and Torque

Although slow speed handpieces operate at lower speeds compared to high-speed counterparts, the speed and torque capabilities still vary among models. Choose a handpiece with adjustable speed and torque settings to accommodate different procedures and patient needs. 

Noise Level

Noise can be a significant concern in the dental operatory, affecting both patient comfort and staff satisfaction. Look for handpieces equipped with noise-reducing features or technologies to minimize operational noise without compromising performance. Quieter handpieces create a more pleasant environment for both patients and dental staff, contributing to a positive overall experience.

Cost and Value

Finally, consider the overall cost and value proposition of the handpiece. While budget constraints are undoubtedly a factor, prioritize value over upfront cost alone. Investing in a high-quality, reliable handpiece may require a larger initial investment but can ultimately save money in the long run through reduced maintenance expenses and improved efficiency.

By carefully evaluating these factors and selecting a slow speed handpiece that aligns with your practice's specific needs and preferences, you can enhance productivity, patient satisfaction, and overall clinical outcomes.



Although there are two different major kinds of handpieces, both of them play a vital role in our dental works. Frankly speaking, each one has a function that could fulfill a different need in your works. The choice of the handpiece is depends on what producure you are doing.