Dental tools and equipment are the instruments used by dental professionals during examination, treatment, restoration, manipulation and teeth removal for their patients. These instruments are often handheld or rotary. However, some are ultrasonic or fibre optic light source equipment. Most dental instruments are not disposable but are cleaned and sterilised after each use with an autoclave.
Dental Instruments Used for Examination
Dental examination instruments include mouth mirrors, which are used to get a close up look at the teeth from all angles and sometimes to pull back the tongue for better examination. They also include various types of probes such as the straight probe, which is used to examine cavities. The Briault probe is used to confirm the connection between the dentine, the enamel and the periodontal probe, which is often used to determine the depth of gum pockets and other measurements.
Dental Instruments for Manipulating Tissues and Deposits
These dental instruments include scalers, which are used to remove tartar from the surface and between teeth. They also include excavators for removing temporary fillings and dentine, as well as chisels, hatchets and hoes to remove unwanted enamel when preparing a cavity for filling. If the unwanted enamel is not removed, the filling may not last as long.
Dental Instruments for Manipulating Filling Materials
Plastic instruments refer to flat blades that are used to transfer and contour filling materials that does not require heavy pressure. These instruments are ironically often made from stainless steel, or coated with titanium nitride or a thin layer of Teflon. Pluggers, also called condensers are also in this category and are used to compress and form the filling material. These types of filling are generally metal or amalgam, which requires heavy pressure during application.
Low Speed Handpieces
Low speed handpieces are available in two main types. The contra-angle handpiece is generally used within the mouth, but the straight handpiece is used to make adjustments to trimmings before they are put in the mouth. While these instruments do have low speeds ranging from 400 to 40,000 RPMs, they do have a higher torque than air rotors. These low speed handpieces use an electric or air motor, which can spin both directions unlike the air rotor.</p>