Friday, February 10, 2017

Slow speed contra angles on eBay: a review

It's time for our next stop along the e-bay Orient express: contra angle slow speed attachments.  I love the e-type mount, because it's an open standard used on electric handpieces, implant motors, endo motors, and really affordable slow speed air motors, too.

Shop for slow speed motors on eBay

There are three e-type contra angles we use day to day at my practice: the button, the latch, and the reciprocating for prophies.


The latch angle is the older design.  It is easy to use, but has a tendency to start coming loose.  So you have to occasionally tighten them.  You'll want to keep a small flat screwdriver around to tighten the latch, also. Visibility is relatively good because the head is really skinny.  But it never jams, and the burs always come out cleanly.  Sometimes they don't lock, so you have to tug them a bit before you use them.  Market price at time of writing was $10 a piece, so you can't really complain

Shop for latch angle contra angles on eBay



The push button is the more modern design.  The collar occasionally comes loose, as they do on all contra angles.  I use these every day for polishing composites, polishing porcelain and caries excavation.  (love the Ivoclar Optrafine for ceramics) My main grief with these is the chuck; the burs can get stuck and refuse to come out.  There are three ways to unjam them:
1) push down the button really hard on your countertop and hope it pops in
2) hold the bur with your fingers (at your own risk) and lightly push the foot pedal.  It will often spin loose
3) use the included flat tool to open up the head and wiggle the bur out.

The bur jams seem to happen more often with the push button.  I have yet to have one on the less sexy latch angles. But mentally, I just don't like the old school look of the push button.  Expect to pay about $15 per head for these push button contra angles.

Shop for push button contra angles on eBay


I'm not going to discuss the internal spray contra-angles that are selling around $35 each.  I haven't tried them because I don't have an electric handpiece.  You're welcome to try them out and report back.


I talked about the reciprocating 4:1 contra angle in my previous post about prophies.  But here's a recap:



These $75-100 contra-angles were designed for endo, but they will work great with prophy polishing.  The 4:1 gear reduction means even a lead foot will spin it at 5,000 rpm tops.  Gear reduction also makes it harder to stall when you bear down on those stains.  (be careful--heavy pressure on the polisher heats up teeth quickly) It doesn't engage as smooth as a $900 hygiene handpiece, but it's also one sixth the cost.  And like the twist prophy angles, it reciprocates, so it's almost impossible to fling paste around.

Shop for 4:1 reciprocating contra angles on eBay

And yes, you can buy latch angle prophy cups, and they are only 8 cents.

That's all I have for now.  I haven't tried any of the 1:5 high speed contra angles or the internal spray models, both of which are intended for owners of electric high speed micromotors like the Bien Air MX2.

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