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Data from: Statistical analysis for subjective and objective evaluations of dental drill sounds

Cite this dataset

Yamada, Tomomi; Kuwano, Sonoko; Ebisu, Shigeyuki; Hayashi, Mikako (2017). Data from: Statistical analysis for subjective and objective evaluations of dental drill sounds [Dataset]. Dryad.


The sound produced by a dental air turbine handpiece (dental drill) can markedly influence the sound environment in a dental clinic. Indeed, many patients report that the sound of a dental drill elicits an unpleasant feeling. Although several manufacturers have attempted to reduce the sound pressure levels produced by dental drills during idling based on ISO 14457, the sound emitted by such drills under active drilling conditions may negatively influence the dental clinic sound environment. The physical metrics related to the unpleasant impressions associated with dental drill sounds have not been determined. In the present study, psychological measurements of dental drill sounds were conducted with the aim of facilitating improvement of the sound environment at dental clinics. Specifically, we examined the impressions elicited by the sounds of 12 types of dental drills in idling and drilling conditions using a semantic differential. The analysis revealed that the impressions of dental drill sounds varied considerably between idling and drilling conditions and among the examined drills. This finding suggests that measuring the sound of a dental drill in idling conditions alone may be insufficient for evaluating the effects of the sound. We related the results of the psychological evaluations to those of measurements of the physical metrics of equivalent continuous A-weighted sound pressure levels (LAeq) and sharpness. Factor analysis indicated that impressions of the dental drill sounds consisted of two factors: “metallic and unpleasant” and “powerful”. LAeq had a strong relationship with “powerful impression”, calculated sharpness was positively related to “metallic impression”, and “unpleasant impression” was predicted by the combination of both LAeq and calculated sharpness. The present analyses indicate that, in addition to a reduction in sound pressure level, refining the frequency components of dental drill sounds is important for creating a comfortable sound environment in dental clinics.

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