Dental Tribune Asia Pacific

Research compares cooling ability of high-speed handpieces

OTAGO, New Zealand: Not all dental practitioners may be aware of the finer details of dentistry equipment. Helene Chua, a 21-year-old fourth-year University of Otago Bachelor of Dental Surgery student, has recently made headlines with her research into the cooling efficiency of different numbers of water coolant ports on high-speed handpieces. Her findings point to the potential for significant savings for dentists around the world.

Chua received the Otago Medical Research Foundation’s 2018/19 Summer Research Scholarship for her research. She compared four-port high-speed handpiece systems to single-port systems to see which produced better cooling results. Her results indicated that four-port systems led to better cooling, but no statistically significant difference was found. Chua believes this finding may help improve handpieces and make them more comfortable in the future.

The findings could also mean significant savings for practitioners, as a four-coolant-port handpiece costs around NZ$1,800, compared with the single-port variety, which costs around NZ$800. “Not many dentists know about the specifics of the tools they are using, and this research gives them information for choosing what to buy and use,” said Chua.

“Opportunities like this give undergraduate students a taste of research, and that can encourage them to pursue postgraduate studies and possible future academic careers. It also lets students understand the importance of research-informed teaching and research-based practice as a dental professional,” said research supervisor Dr Joanne Choi.

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DT Asia Pacific No. 6, 2019

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