Just Ask the Expert: Can micro motors be used to debride teeth?

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Jul 13, 2009
Dr. Carmichael welcomes dental questions from veterinarians and technicians.

To ask your question, e-mail: vm@advanstar.com
With the subject line: Dental Questions

Q: I bought a micro motor for polishing teeth. The supplier said that it can also be used for burring and sectioning teeth, but it does not have a water supply. Is this still possible, or should I return the unit?


A: The micro motor you have purchased is just fine for polishing, but it is not the best tool for debriding teeth. Micro motors do not turn as fast as air-driven high-speed handpieces do, nor do they have as much torque. And micro motors do not have water cooling, which is necessary to prevent thermal damage.

My best advice would be to return the micro motor and instead purchase a compressed-air-driven dental unit (also know as a dental base). These types of units include a low-speed handpiece for polishing and a high-speed (water-cooled) handpiece for performing bone removal and sectioning of multi-rooted teeth. Compressed-air-driven dental units also have an air water syringe. And they can usually be rigged with a piezoelectric ultrasonic scaler.

For more information on equipment recommendations, please see a Dental Corner article Dr. Matthew Lemmons and I wrote titled "Properly equip your dental suite" (Veterinary Medicine, July 2007).

Daniel T. Carmichael, DVM, DAVDC
Veterinary Medical Center
75 Sunrise Highway
West Islip, NY 11795

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