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Dental drill noise reduction device

Patient fear of dental drill (also known as a dental handpiece) noise is a worldwide issue. Drill noise can be very uncomfortable for patients and dentists due to its high-frequency characteristic and leads to avoidance of treatment, particularly by more extreme sufferers, as well as causing distress to many who still undergo treatment despite their fear.

SileDent is a commercialisation project in collaboration with TBG Solutions Ltd and King’s College London Dental Institute, funded by Innovate UK. This research has developed a novel Adaptive Filtering (AF) device for reducing dental drill noise to be worn by patients that maintains vital communication between the dentist and patient. Audio signals typically comprise several characteristics and in practice, each of these has different relationships to the AF parameters.

dental device

This research has tuned the AF parameters in terms of relevant audio signal performance measures. Many device prototypes are currently undergoing trials with dentists in the UK and some international sites.

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Professor Mark Atherton
Professor Mark Atherton -   Mark is now an Honorary and Emeritus Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, previously being full Professor of Mechanical Engineering Design. He is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He has developed industrial products and manufacturing systems, including dental drill noise reduction (Dental drill noise reduction device), robotic servicing of trains (Lab-based prototype for automated train fluid servicing) and design tools for invention (On-line tool to intelligently interpret design information contained in patents). Mark taught engineering design and design optimisation. Background BSc(Hons) in Mechanical Engineering from Aston University, Birmingham. MSc/DIC in Industrial Robotics and Manufacturing Automation from Imperial College, London. PhD in Mechanical Engineering Design from City University, London. Industrial experience: apprenticeship with Rubery Owen, followed by engineering positions with Driver Southall (GEC), Otis Elevator, and Redland Engineering. Academic posts at London South Bank University and Brunel University London, plus visiting professor at Tokyo University of Science and University of Modena. Chartered Engineer, Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Related Research Group(s)


Design and Manufacturing - Developing products, services and manufacturing processes that will deliver economically and environmentally sustainable solutions, based on design principles derived from an understanding of human capabilities and limitations.

Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 16/01/2024