Types of Dental Drills

Types of Dental Drills

Types of Dental Drills

Types of Dental Drills | TOC

There are over five thousand types of dental drills classified according to their shape, size or the material with which they are made. For this, dental burs has a standard or ISO codification which is used in a similar way by manufacturers to help us identify the exact drill that we need. This coding is carried out taking into account the various parameters which identify it as unique.

As there is a lot of information on this topic, we have supplemented this article with a guide to distinguish between all types of dental drills.

Codification of Dental Drills

The dental drill coding system follows the following parameters in order to generate a unique code that corresponds to each bur:

  1. The material of the head (diamond, tungsten carbide, etc.)
  2. Handpieces with which they are compatible (turbine, contra-angle, handpiece, etc.)
  3. The shape of the head
  4. The roughness or grain size of the head
  5. The diameter of the head at the widest point.
types of dentist drills illustration

Air Turbine Handpiece for Dental Drills

By sending compressed air, the turbine blades attached to the tip of the handpiece are rotated at a high speed of 300,000 to 400,000 rpm to sharpen teeth. You can sharpen hard objects such as tooth enamel and metal without applying force. However, due to the high rpm, that “key” sound is generated from the turbine.

Contra Angle Handpiece

Sharpens teeth at a lower speed than the air handpiece. Since the torque is strong, it is mainly used for scraping and polishing soft cavities. There is a type that rotates with the same compressed air as the air turbine and a type that rotates with a motor, and the latter can generate stronger torque.


In addition, there are other types of drills that sharpen teeth.

It is a drill that is rotated by an electric motor called a micromotor, and it turns the motor with electric power just like an electric car to sharpen teeth.

Although the rotation speed is slower than that of the turbine, the cutting force is much stronger than that of the turbine, and the drill using this micromotor is suitable for sharpening teeth firmly. It is an instrument that is often used during dental treatment.

Roughness Type of Dental Drills

The roughness type can be identified in many cases by the color of the dental bur. The classification of the cutter according to roughness is standard, but it does not appear in all manufacturers and in all types of cutters. The classification is as follows:

White: super fine

Yellow: extra fine

Red: fine

Blue: standard

Green: big

Black: super big

Dentist's Drills - Shapes

There are various shapes of strawberries (ball, cylinder, cone, etc.). Each bur corresponds to a dental treatment.

For example, the dentist uses a coarse diamond ball bur to pierce the enamel which is very hard. The drill is also necessary to reach and clean the cavity hollowed out by decay. The dentist removes the dentin softened by decay using a round tungsten carbide bur.

Other dentist drills have a role in dental surgery, trimming (grinding) a tooth for a crown, polishing a dental restoration (a filling or composite), etc.

Dental Burrs When They Are Used ?

The drill is an indispensable instrument for the dentist in his daily practice of dentistry. He usually uses the burrs in the following cases:

preservative care of the tooth: for caries care, devitalization of a tooth (milling allowing access to the pulp);

bone and implant surgery: for the piercing of the bone; the fixed prosthesis: for the size of the tooth or the removal of an old dental crown; polishing of restored teeth.


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