The Basic Tools of a Dentist

When you go to a dentist, there are a few things you generally expect. A sterilizing atmosphere to the whole thing, a chair to sit in with a blinding lamp hanging above, but most of all, a set of tools laying next to you on a tray. These tools change depending on the nature of your appointment, although there are some that carry over. If you’re curious about the basic tools of general dentistry in Charleston SC, here is a short list of the most basic tools given to your average dentist.

#1. Hand instruments
These are the tools used in your typical checkup, or to perform basic surgery, like a root canal. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The mouth mirror, used to more closely examine the inside of the mouth and teeth
  • Probes, whether straight, briault, or periodontal, used to examine individual teeth for tar, cavities, and other abnormalities
  • And scalers, used to dig out loose gunk in the gums and between the teeth.

These are the tools you see laying on the tray when you go in for your checkup every 3-6 months. They require no electricity to operate, but a deft hand and a keen eye to keep from injuring the patient. Therefore, the dentist tells you to be still, and open your mouth wide. Most need a still target, and a lot of wiggle room in order to avoid injury.

#2. Rotary instruments
These are tools like drills or polishers. Small electric devices, meant to perform high performance tasks on the teeth in a short amount of time. This can be polishing the teeth and cleaning off gunk quickly and efficiently. Or it could be drilling into the teeth to get out a cavity. Or it could even be burs, meant to cut into the teeth for filling a cavity or removing carious materials.

#3. Cutting and scraping tools
These are tools used when the dentist finds built up plaque, gunk, or cavities in your teeth, that don’t require real surgery to remove, but should be removed nonetheless. Scalers fit into this category, as do excavators, chisels and hatchets. Their function is to scrape out surface level buildup on your teeth, in order to prevent cavities, or more long-term damage.

The mouth is a complicated organ, and thus requires many tools to tackle. Luckily, a dentist is more than equipped to handle anything your mouth can throw at them. Knowing more about the tools that are generally used by a dentist, the more at ease you will feel.

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