Can You Use a Rotary Tool as a Dental Device or Drill? Someone Did

If it wasn’t in the user manual we wouldn’t have given it a second thought.

It started with a user manual—you know, those things most people chuck into the trash when they buy a new tool. This tool was a rotary drill. In fact, more than one. We pulled out the manual to a Dremel 4300 rotary tool and perused it. That’s when we saw it: This product is not intended for use as a dental drill, in human or veterinary medical applications. Serious injury may result. Wait, you can use a rotary tool as a dental device or drill?

The Warning More or Less Means Someone Tried It

Now, I just so happened to have a dream recently that I was out enjoying one of my favorite pastimes: fishing. As I caught largemouth after largemouth, I finally broke my line on a tree branch when my line got hung up. Doing what I’ve always done, I cut the tag end of the line using my teeth.

This product is not intended for use as a dental drill, in human or veterinary medical applications. Serious injury may result.

Fast forward a few hours, and I’m driving along when I feel this rather strange rock-like object floating around in my mouth. I spit it out to find that had apparently been grinding my teeth during that dream and chipped the snot out of my tooth.

Like most of you, I don’t like going to the dentist. It’s time-consuming, it’s uncomfortable. The appointment times often interrupt my day. (Also, the girl at the front counter stares at me funny when I walk in all covered in sawdust.)

But I would never try to drill or shape my own tooth—let alone someone else’s—using a rotary tool. And neither should you.

Imagine the Scenario for this Frivolous Warning Label

A guy walks into his favorite hardware store or home improvement warehouse. His mindset has him looking for a rotary tool that might work as a dental device or drill. As a tool guy, he fancies himself pretty handy with a rotary tool, router—whatever. So he picks up the cheapest rotary tool he can find. It may be a Dremel. It could just as easily be something from another manufacturer like WEN, Ryobi, or Chicago Electric.

Author’s Note: If you think Dremel owns the rights to this warning, you’d be missing out on similar warnings from WEN and others. Many of them include, or have included, the same or similar language.

After he picks the tool, he grabs a couple of diamond grit bits designed for ceramic and heads home. After all, using a rotary tool as a dental device makes sense. The dentist uses a similar tool, right? And he can’t build a deck!

It’s really hard to see the back of your tooth with your big fat hand and a rotary tool in the way. Even if you have an “assistant”, a rotary tool makes for a horrible dental device. The bulk of the tool differs greatly from the thin air-powered drills your dentist uses. Also, those drills operate between 600 and 25,000 RPM.

dental drills thinner than rotary tools
Dental drills are considerably thinner than corded or cordless rotary tools.

It’s simply the wrong tool for the job.

If you use a rotary tool as a dental drill or device you will likely end up sitting in a dentist’s chair eventually. And your bill will likely be higher.

If you’re lucky, you might get away with a 60 minute, $500 appointment and an IOU on building your dentist a new back deck.

Rotary tool dentistry. What could possibly go wrong? Everything. Stay away!

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