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dental instruments From protective gear to specialized equipment, there are many tools available to the dentist trade.  While some tools are specific to certain branches of dentistry, there are a few basic instruments that are used in just about all dental practices.

A mouth mirror is a hand-held tool that allows the dentist to see inside the patient's mouth, at a variety of angles.  The tool is designed to provide indirect vision, as well as reflect light and magnify the interior of the mouth.  Today's mouth mirrors can be single-sided or double-sided, and some are even disposable.

dental probes Several different kinds of hand-held probes are used by the dentist.  The one that is used most often in a regular examination is the sickle or contra-angled probe.  This probe allows the dentist to detect pits and fissures, calculus, issues with bridges and crowns, and caries.  A periodontal probe measures the depth of periodontal pockets, while a briault probe detects caries on mesial and distal surfaces.

College tweezers are another basic piece of equipment used in dentistry.  These allow the dentist to place and retrieve small objects into and from the mouth.  Some of them have a locking mechanism to prevent the object from being dropped.  A metal ruler is often used to measure the length of endodontic K files.

A Dentist Uses a Dental Mirror and a Dental Probe

In addition to the tools used in a basic dental exam, other tools are used for other purposes.  Most dentists and their hygienists use masks, protective gloves, safety glasses, and face shields during dental procedures to protect them from debris, bacteria, and chemicals.

air-water syringe used by dentists Most dentists also have radiograph equipment in their offices, to allow them to x-ray their patients' teeth.  In addition to the actual x-ray machine, radiograph film is also needed to complete the procedure.  Radiograph film comes in several sizes and shapes, depending upon the area of the mouth to be x-rayed.

Since dental work often results in excess saliva and moisture, most dentists use specific instruments designed to control moisture.  The most commonly used is the disposable saliva ejector, which uses a low volume of suction to remove saliva from the mouth during procedures.  A variety of cotton wool rolls and pellets are also available to absorb saliva, blood, and excess dental material.

dental handpiece - dentist drill For painful dental procedures, the dentist will need tools, like syringes and disposable needles, that provide anaesthesia.  In procedures where a dentist is isolating one tooth or one specific part of the mouth, a rubber dam is used to allow the dentist to see better, as well as protect the patient's airway.

When it comes to filling cavities, repairing chips, or any other process that requires smoothing, dental burs are used to smooth and polish.  They are also used to remove tooth tissue before restorations or other work.  Burs come in several sizes and shapes, depending upon where and how they are going to be used.  Most of us are familiar with the dental handpiece, or dentist drill, which can rotate a bur at high speeds.

Feel free to browse for information on dental tools, as well as a list of dental equipment manufacturers and distributors.

  • Henry Schein - dental equipment, technology, and supplies.
  • Patterson Dental - products, equipment, and services for dentists.
  • Pfingst - precision dental tools and dentist instruments.
  • Busch - rotary dental instruments and precision tools.
  • Horico - dental abrasive instruments.
  • Edenta - rotary instruments for the dental trade.

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