By Danny Chan
While air-powered handpieces are still commonly used in our dental offices, dentistry is trending towards the electric variety. The tangible benefits of using an electric handpiece, with its consistent torque that delivers quiet and efficient cutting, have certainly not gone unnoticed.
For those contemplating a conversion, handpiece manufacturer NSK has launched their latest NLZ range of electric micromotors, which makes it easier for users of air driven handpieces to board the electric bandwagon.
The NLZ-E electric micromotor was unveiled during the ADX Melbourne show in May. The “E” stands for Endodontics, meaning the NLZ-E motor system can be used across a variety of dental restorations, prophylaxis and endodontic rotary and reciprocating procedures.
According to Phil Fitzgibbon, Managing Director of NSK Oceania, the NLZ-E represents convenience, versatility and game-changing technology.
“It gives you the flexibility to change a standard air operated piece of dental equipment like a dental chair and dental cart into a fully functional electric unit,” he says. The NLZ-E can be connected to a dental unit with ISO 9168-compliant chair line Type 2 Midwest 4 holes or Type 3 Midwest 4 holes with optics.
“If you have a basic air motor on your existing dental chair, it can be removed with a very simple installation process and upgraded to a state-of-the art, brushless electric motor system.”
A typical installation takes roughly about 30 minutes to an hour, he adds, depending on whether a technician does it or dentists were to set it up themselves.
The small footprint and lightweight design makes the NLZ-E highly configurable to suit your clinical environment. No matter your preferred style of installation, it takes up very little room – sitting on your instrument or operatory tray or mounted to an extended arm.
The cutting edge
Don’t let its compact size fool you though, because this electric micromotor packs a punch.
Touting high-speed rotations from 100 - 40,000 rpm and a maximum torque of 4.2Ncm – one of the highest in the market – the high-end NLZ-E is compatible for use with all contra-angle handpieces.
“The high end speed is compatible with all red-band 1:5 speed increasing handpieces – especially with the NSK Ti-Max Z95LSW with aerosol spray adjustment,” FItzgibbon adds.
Considered the Ferrari of handpieces, red-band handpieces deliver notably smoother and quieter cutting action. According to Phil, the 1:5 speed increasing handpieces can be used in conjunction with the NLZ-E running at 200,000 rpm.
The NSK Ti-Max Z95LSW red band handpiece lets users control aerosols by selecting either mist or jet spray at the flick of a switch with the world’s first two-way spray technology.
The majority of people who have not converted to electric motor handpieces, Fitzgibbon avers, are those who have yet to trial and experience the system for themselves. He believes the portability of the NSK NLZ-E unit presents a unique opportunity for dentists in this category.
“It is very easy to temporarily install the compact NLZ-E into a dental practice for a trial period,” he says.
“It gives dentists a chance to test the much talked about red-band technology and see the advantages for themselves.”
Dentists can catch the NLZ-E in action at the ADA Training Centre, where 2 units have recently been installed.
“The NLZ-E is ideal for pre-clinical training and may be retrofitted into any existing training facility. It works with almost any dental handpiece on the market, delivering precise and constant speeds to ensure everyone is working to the same training standards,” Fitzgibbon adds.
Advanced safety features
The high-end features also extend to those promising safer and more efficient endodontic treatment.
The new NLZ Endo motor has a reciprocating function which when used with the NSK NLZ Endo 6:1 handpiece allows it to work in reciprocating mode, using the endodontic reciprocating file from Dentsply Sirona – Waveone Gold.
The NLZ-E can also be used in Rotary Endo mode allowing dentists to use a range of file systems whilst achieving continuous rotation up to 1000 rpm and torque from 0.3-6.0 Ncm.
Other safety functions include the “Contra-Check Function” that helps detect abnormalities caused by deterioration of the electric attachment and insufficient maintenance before use.
“This is an advanced function that lets the dentist know if the handpiece needs maintenance, oiling or repair – by indicating the specific issue on the display panel. This helps to prevent the contra-angle handpiece from overheating or premature damage,” Fitzgibbon explains.
Not bigger but better
The NLZ-E has built on previous NSK models to produce an even more lightweight and powerful electric motor, Fitzgibbon attests.
“We have replaced the conventional magnet rotor with an improved version and integrated the water and air lines with the motor. We’ve also incorporated into the compact system a simple non-layered coil that shortens the pathway for heat generating current,” he says.
“As a result, the new NLZ-E is able to achieve more powerful rotation in a lighter, more efficient configuration, while generating less heat without reducing the output power.
“In addition, the brushless motor of the NLZ-E increases its life span, reduces noise and has a smoother start.”
For the dental practice that has yet to embrace electric motors, he concludes, the NSK NLZ-E simply provides the perfect opportunity to get the latest technology with a very simple installation.