Dental Drills | Snohomish, Wa Dentist

Many people associate trips to the dentist with the sound of the dental drill. While for many the sound is a source of anxiety, the drill itself is a highly advanced instrument that enables dentists to treat patients quickly and painlessly. Known by many dentists as simply a handpiece, these high tech tools have some interesting characteristics. First, for health and safety, the dental drill is subject to sterilization after each patient. For safety, this means it’s heated to over 250 degrees with pressurized steam, and kept at that temperature for 15 minutes. This requires extreme engineering to enable – the constant heating and cooling is difficult on metals, but dental drills can withstand this punishment many times a day.

The drills spin at up to 250,000 RPM – more than 4,000 times each second. The heat created by this speed could easily crack a tooth or permanently damage the nerves within a tooth, but to prevent this, dental drills shoot a cooling mist of water as they spin. This cools the tooth, preventing damage.

Dentists will use both a high-speed drill and a low-speed drill – the high speed is often used for removing decay, where the low speed can be used for polishing teeth. While your dentist will use a modern, high speed, high tech handpiece, the original dental drills were first used over 9000 years ago. Hopefully knowing a bit more about the drill may make the sound less disturbing, but if you’re ever worried about the noise, consider asking your dentist about options to minimize anxiety, such as music, earplugs, or television.

Call Dr. Ted Haines DDS for more information on sedation or to make an appointment today at 360-568-8577 or visit the website at

Dr. Haines of Snohomish, WA also proudly accepts patients from Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.