Definition of Drill, dental

Drill, dental: A device that dentists use to drill into teeth.

Primitive dental drills were used in the 18th and early 19th centuries. In 1868, American dentist George F. Green added power to the drill with a pneumatic version run by a pedal-powered bellows. In 1871, dentist James B. Morrison added pedal power to a bur drill. And in 1875, Dr. Green patented an electrified dental drill. This development revolutionized dentistry.

Dr. Green's pioneering electric drill used an electromagnetic motor. It worked well but was quite cumbersome. Just after the turn of the 20th century, most dentists' offices came to be wired for electricity. Plug-in electric drills were invented and became standard.


Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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