What to consider when picking a straight handpiece?

Straight handpieces are one of the most commonly used instruments in dentistry. This is why,we want to help you choose the one that best suits your dental practice needs.

Before going into too much details we should acknowledge that the straight handpiece, is a low speed rotary instrument, which can go from 20,000 to 40,000 rpm. You should also know that this instrument is not usually used inside the mouth as its most widespread use is to touch up the prosthesis, and lastly that it is always attached to a micromotor.


When choosing to buy a straight handpiece, we must consider 4 important features:

The type of propulsion: air or electric:

Lighting: with or without light

The size of the head

Cleaning and maintenance


Types of propulsion in straight handpieces

Air propulsion​: The air micromotor drives the handpiece, transmitting the power through a rotor onto which the compressed air acts. These propulsion systems reach a maximum speed of 25,000 rpm.

Electric propulsion: Electric micromotors achieve an idle speed of up to 40,000 rpm and, unlike air motors, they maintain an almost constant speed independently of the load. This ensures that the cutting speed is not reduced during preparation processes when the drill comes into contact with the tooth structure or the prosthesis.

Straight handpieces: with or without light?

In any dental work, reliable lighting in the treatment area is more than necessary. As a result, since 2007, some instruments have incorporated the use of LEDs, which has proved to be a great advancement in the dental sector. Light handpieces are usually less economical than those without illumination, but they do make the dentist's work much easier.

The size of the head

This is a very important point as the types of treatments and connections to the burs will depend on this. Straight handpieces have a specific connection with the head, and burs from other rotary instruments such as turbines or contra-angle handpieces may not be compatible with the handpiece.

Cleaning and maintenance

Never forget the cleanliness! To meet all hygiene requirements, handpieces, turbines dental and motors must be sterilized after each use on a patient. For this reason, it is very important that the instruments can be quickly separated from each other, so that the dentist does not waste unnecessary time doing this and can devote it to the management of the dental clinic.