Dental Drill Appreciation Day

I know that a dental drill is not something that you want to celebrate. But today is dental drill sm- paid - shutterstock 685746085DentalDrillAppreciationDay. When you think about the use of a dental drill, you might find that it is something to celebrate.

Dental drills are tools that are used to protect teeth by performing a number of procedures and functions.

They are used to prepare teeth for fillings, by removing existing decay, making sure the filling is successful and lasts a long time. Dental drills are also used with teeth that require crowns or other restorations. These teeth need to be precisely shaped so the cap (crown) fits well and doesn’t pop off or allow bacteria to enter the tooth.  The drill may also be used to remove old crowns and fillings that need replacing.

Dental drills are strong, made from materials like tungsten carbide and diamonds.

Dental drills have come a long way from their earliest forms. Some evidence suggests that the earliest drills were “bow drills.” The first mechanical drills operated at about 15 rpm. In about1864, a British dentist invented a “clockwork” drill. This was faster than previous versions, but it was very noisy. In 1868, George F Green invented a pneumatic drill powered by a pedal-operated bellows.  In 1871, James Morrison introduced a pedal-powered bur drill. In 1875, Green created the first battery-powered drill.

It was not until about 1914 that drills could operate at about 3,000 rpm. The air turbine drill was developed during the 1950s and 1960s. Modern drills operate at up to 800,000 rpm, and are able to operate at several slower speeds. As drill speeds increased, they produced heat. Drills were then designed to cool with air or water to protect the tooth. Some modern drills also offer an internal light source to allow dentists a better view of the work area.

Dental lasers and air abrasion are newer technologies that may eventually replace the dental drill for many tasks. Today they are used only for specific procedures.

Although the noise of the drill still bothers many people, a look back at the history of the dental drill should make us appreciate the modern drill and understand its value to modern dentistry.