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The 411 on Dental Instruments – What They Are and What They Do

Basic Dental Instruments

When you go for regular oral checkups, you probably have noticed the various tools that your dentist has at their disposal. Dental instruments are categorized depending on the task that is being performed. The tools the dentist will use will vary based on whether they are examining you, or performing a complex procedure such as tooth filling. The following is a quick guide on basic dental instruments used during checkups and tooth filling.

Instruments for Examining Your Mouth

Dental mirrors

The dental mirror ensures that the dentist examines your mouth from different angles. It is a small round mirror with a long handle. The mirror is designed for conducting dental checkups easily.

Dental Probe

A dental probe helps the dentist determine the condition of your teeth. There are 3 different types of dental probes: straight probe, briault probe, and periodontal probe. The straight probe is used for examining cavities. The briault probe is used for detecting tartar in the gum pockets. The periodontal probe is used for measurements such as the depth of gum pockets.

Dental Explorer

With a dental explorer, the dentist can find cavities or any problems in the teeth. The explorer helps the dentist with examinations and checkups and is used along with a mirror and probe. The dental explorer helps the dentist find cavities, areas with tarter, and pits.

3 Way Syringe

Also known as the air and water syringe, this instrument is used for rinsing and drying your mouth. The instrument comes with a long hose. The water syringe makes the mouth moist and the dry air dry your mouth. This instrument is used during a thorough dental examination or procedure.

Suction Device

This instrument is used for removing excess saliva in your mouth during a dental procedure. The aspirator sucks the surplus saliva from the mouth and is used by the dental assistant or nurse during a complex dental examination or procedure.

Instruments for Filling Procedures

Scalers

These instruments are used for removing tartar from your tooth surface together with those hidden in your gum pockets. They are also used for removing surface deposits.

Spoon Excavators

These instruments remove temporary fillings and softened dentine. The blade is also used for placing material between fillings.

Chisels, Hoes, and Hatchets

These instruments remove unnecessary enamel when preparing your tooth for cavity removal. Unsupported enamel negatively affects the duration of your filling if it is not removed.

Air Rotors

This is a small high speed drill used for scraping off decayed material before the dentist inserts a dental filling. Dental drills are often used on patients who have cavities.

Condensers or Pluggers

These instruments are used for forming and compressing filling materials. Heavy pressure is exerted when they are being used and therefore they are suitable for amalgam or metal fillings.

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