A dental handpiece is a mechanical device designed for use with rotary instruments, such as burs, stones, wheels and discs. A standard dental operatory is usually equipped with both high- and low-speed handpieces, each serving a distinct purpose. High-speed handpieces, which operate at 200,000 to 400,000 rpm, are usually used in cavity preparations to remove the bulk of enamel, dentin and old metal restorations. They are also used to prepare retention grooves and bevels with a cavity preparation, and to develop the cavity outline. Low-speed handpieces are usually used for removing caries, refining a cavity preparation and performing prophylaxis. Dental handpieces are among the most commonly used mechanical devices in an operatory with an average lifespan of six years. Low-speed handpieces tend to have a longer lifespan than high-speed handpieces. There are two ways to power dental handpieces: air and electricity. Air-driven handpieces, more commonly known in Europe as turbines, and are much more common in North America and the U.K. than the rest of the European countries covered in this report. In Northern Europe, German-speaking countries and France, electric handpieces dominate the market. Spain, Italy and Portugal are relatively split between the two, but turbines have a slight edge in the market. The two main reasons for this are the way in which practitioners are trained in dental schools in their respective countries and the economic situation of each country. However, electric handpieces are continuing to gain market share as they are becoming the norm, which was not the case several years ago.