Patients: What You Should Know About Dental Tools

Patients: What You Should Know About Dental Tools

You have probably seen the shiny silver dental instruments used to clean your teeth, but do you really know anything about these tools?

Although they may seem scary, dental instruments are important tools used for oral exams and professional teeth cleanings. The more you learn about them, they may become less intimidating.

Common Dental Instruments

Your dental hygienist’s table may have several instruments laid out, including a sickle scaler, dentist air drill, mouth mirror, explorers, disposable saliva injector, cotton forceps, and more.

  • Sickle Scaler: An essential tool for any dental hygienist, a sickle scaler comes in several sizes. The scaler has a sharp point and sharp edges. This tool is used to scrape away excessive amounts of plaque and tartar.

  • Dentist Air Drill: A small air compressor used to remove early signs of tooth decay.

  • Mouth Mirror: This tool helps dental professionals get a clearer view of the oral cavity. The flat or concave mirror reflects light and is used to retract cheeks, tongue, and lips.

  • Explorers: Sometimes referred to as dental perio probes, explorers help your dentist look for decay, furcation, canals, calculus and other problems. The pointed tips can be thin, flexible or sharp to poke the tooth surface.

  • Disposable Saliva Ejector: This is the apparatus that sucks the saliva and other fluids out of your mouth during your routine visit. Low-level suction power is provided to remove water, debris, blood, and saliva during teeth cleanings and dental procedures.

  • Cotton Forceps: These dental instruments have smooth or serrated tips for grasping materials and transferring items in and out of the oral cavity.

  • Dental Hatchet: This tool sure sounds like a scary dental instrument, but it is a simple metal device used for cavity preparation. The hatchet removes unsupported tooth enamel.

  • Smooth Condenser: A smooth ended tool, a condenser is sometimes large or small, and can be flat or round with a single or double-sided design. The dental instrument is used to pack down cavity filling into a prepared space.

  • Hollenback Carver: This double-ended, stiff-bladed tool with ends that protrude at varying angles is used to place, shape and contour dental amalgam to fill cavities.

When you visit your dentist or hygienist for a routine appointment, don’t hesitate to ask questions about the tools being used. In fact, while you’re at it, ask if they use the C-Shape Instrument!