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Looking for increased speed, torque, power?

ADA researchers measure key attributes

March 28, 2016

By Michelle Manchir

Hoping to help dentists find the right tools, a team of ADA researchers invented an apparatus to measure the power output of air turbine handpieces.

In February, the scientists were granted a patent for the ADA for an apparatus used to characterize handpieces along with the method for its use.

The device can be used to characterize air turbine dental handpieces in terms of power, torque, speed and air consumption.

Since responses from a PPR survey among members indicated questions about power output of air turbine handpieces, and there is no commercially available apparatus to measure this, ADA researchers developed their own, said director of research and laboratories at the ADA Science Institute, Spiro Megremis, Ph.D.

Researchers used the tool to evaluate eight high-speed handpieces, the results of which were featured in a 2015 issue of ADA Professional Product Review, a publication that offers unbiased, scientifically sound and clinically relevant product reviews and other information to members. This issue can be found at by searching for Volume 10, Issue 1.

The device is also featured in a 3-minute instructional video available on the PPR website called “Power Output of your Air-Turbine Handpiece: What You Need to Know.”

Dr. Steven Jefferies, a member of the ADA Council of Scientific Affairs, said he showed this video to a group of first-year dental students at Temple University this school year before presenting a lecture on finishing and polishing technology and clinical technique.

“The response was very positive. The class watched the video very attentively and most of the comments I received indicated it gave them a much better understanding of the operation and performance of the high speed handpiece,” he said. “Short videos which introduce and describe the function of dental technology (especially new technology) can be extremely helpful to introduce dental students — and even dentists — to the new devices and technology.”

For more information from ADA researchers, visit