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Glossary of Handpiece Terms

Here is an excerpt of the glossary page to give you an example of what it's like to learn with Knowledge Base. Information like this is used to familiarize you with terminology and allow you to get a good idea of what the different handpieces and parts look like at the same time.

Air Motor - A low speed handpiece without integral reduction gears or attachments

Auto Chuck - A mechanism used to change a bur by pressing a button or by raising a latch.

Bearing - A high precision part used to support and guide rotating parts.

Canister - A closed cylinder that houses a rotating turbine assembly.

Contra Angle - An attachment used with a straight or low speed motor that changes the desired angle to better reach areas in the oral cavity, which are difficult to access.

High-Speed Handpiece - A handpiece that operates at a speed greater than 100,000 RPM. This is also referred to as simply a turbine.

Jacob Chuck - A chucking mechanism that utilizes a chuck key (bur wrench) to tighten the chuck. The chuck has fingers that are closed on the bur when tightened with the bur wrench.

Low-Speed Handpiece - In general, any handpiece used by a dentist or hygienist at speeds less than 100,000 RPM. Sometime referred to as Slow-Speed Handpiece.

Nosecone - A straight attachment used with a low speed motor that holds a bur (generally 2.35m) or standard "U" attachment.

Prophy Angle - An angle that attaches to a hygiene type low speed handpiece or to a contra angle. A prophy angle accepts screw-in brushes or cups, or snap-on cups.

Quick-Disconnect - A handpiece attachment or fitting designed to allow easy separation of the handpiece from the supply tubing.

Straight Handpiece - Same as low speed handpiece. Often refers to a handpiece with a nosecone permanently "fixed" to the motor.

Turbine - Located in the head of the high speed handpiece, it rotates by the use of compressed air. A high speed handpiece typically consists of five major parts: spindle (or center shaft); chuck; impeller; bearings and "O" rings. Low speed turbines are different and may be a rotary vane type.