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Instruments Found in the Dental Surgery

Updated: Feb 25

Dental instruments with names: We have all been there... in the waiting room of the dental clinic. Does this paint an accurate picture for you? You sit down with the other 'victims' all trying not to see the fear in each others eyes. You then try to read and concentrate on reading a 5 year old article about the royal family whilst your can help but hear the 'whir' of the drill and the sound of the sucking device . Then it's your turn... you go into the dental room. You see the sharp and menacing weapons laying on the the rolled out towel on a stainless steel bench. You feel the tingling up your spine and your hairs stand on end. Does this sound familiar? Or perhaps it's a familiar feature of many patients nightmares? It doesn't need to be and shouldn't be this way! Just as some people who have as fear of flying learn about planes and how they fly, we feel that it's a good idea for our patients to learn something about what dental instruments with names you will find in a dental room, what tools are available to the dentist, and just what they do.

Knowledge as they say is power, and being able to identify the items that a dentist will use during your next visit may be able to reduce anxiety. Knowing what a dental instrument is and does can give the patient confidence and take away some of the fear that is associated with the unknown and dental procedures.



Surgical Instruments for Dentistry

Medical and dentistry practices use a wide variety of surgical equipment. At any event, the following are some of the most common dental instruments with names you'll find in the clinic.


Mouth Mirror

So lets take a look at the dental instruments with names that we have in the common dental clinic. A dental mirror, or mouth mirror, is amongst the most frequent and vital tools in a dental practice. Dentists can't effectively inspect their patients' mouths without this device.

A mouth mirror is a device that helps dentists examine teeth that can't be seen with the naked eye, such as around the back of molars. Dental professionals use a head mirror with a stainless-steel frame to examine the patient's teeth and surrounding tissues of the mouth when examining the patient.


Dental Mirror or Mouth Mirror

A mouth mirror serves three purposes: indirectly viewing, retract, and light reflection.

The mouth has several locations where direct sight is difficult, such as the roof of the mouth. To use a mouth mirror may assist dentists to see areas that are difficult to see. A dentist working without a mouth mirror will be forced to lean over backwards, increasing the risk of back and neck injuries. Dental mirrors are most often used to examine the lingual surfaces (the surface of the tooth near the tongue) of the front maxillary teeth (front top teeth). Dentists need to pull back the cheek and tongues to get a better view of the teeth and to make it easier to insert the dental instruments. The retraction of the tongue and cheek is made easier and more comfortable with the use of a mouth mirror. The smoothness of the mirror ensures that the client will not be irritated during retraction.

When illuminating the mouth, there are areas that are difficult to see. Reflecting light from the dentist chair's light, a dental mirror is utilized to highlight some of the deeper and more intricate portions of the mouth.


Explorers

Also known as sickle probes, a dentist will use this tool in order to check tooth for tartar, damage, and other dental anomalies. Additionally, the term "explorer" is a simple one to remember. It's just a matter of imagining what your dentist may do with it. For the most part, dentists utilize dental explorers to examine patients' mouths for issues that could be concerning to them personally.


Dental Instrument - Explorer

A laser

An oral surgery or dental laser is a specialized form of dental laser.

The need for a laser may minimize postoperative morbidity (medical term for adverse effects or complications following surgery) and an aesthetic use. An example of its use in this situation can be found here. Following soft tissue operations involving the dental laser, there will be very little or no bleeding and certain dangers of other electro surgery methods are avoided because of cauterization.


Dental Laser

Dentist's torque wrench

An abutment, dentures, or prosthetics on a dental implant may be held in place with the use of a dentist torque wrench or restorative torque wrench. It literally works like a normal wrench and is used to tighten parts of an implant or denture. To learn more about this or to see one in action, watch our implant video using a torque wrench here.


Dental Torque Wrench

Dentist's drill bit

A dental bur (read drill bit) is a necessary instrument for almost all dental operation and therapy. Hard and soft tissue may be cut and ground using these attachments that can be attached to the rotating dental work piece for faster and more efficient dental operations. Again to see the drill in action during a procedure, you can watch our video on a dental filling.


Dental Drill

The Cotton Forceps.

Cotton forceps are used to move things between the mouth and the rest of the body. In most cases, dentists utilize this tool to hold onto cotton. However, your dentist may use it in a variety of ways. Again we have a video which cotton forceps are used by the dentist here.


Dental Cotton Forceps

Using Forceps to Extract

Forceps, as previously stated, are used for gripping objects. The phrase "extract," which implies to dig or draw out, is the most important thing to keep in mind while using this instrument. Tooth extraction is the primary use of extraction forceps. To learn more about the process of extraction or what to expect during the procedure, please see our page on extractions.


Extraction Forceps

X-rays of the teeth

Another area where you as a patient can learn the dental instruments with names is with the X rays. In dentistry, X-rays of the teeth are standard pieces of equipment found often in the clinicians room themselves and also in their own separate room. Generally in the dental clinic, there is an intraoral X ray, and in a separate room there is an OPG X ray (Orthopantomogram).


Intraoral X rays are done whilst the patient sits in the dental chair. They take an image inside the patients mouth through putting a small film inside. The image can show the

  • bitewing (showing the molars/posterior area of the teeth)

  • Periapical (showing 2 or 3 complete teeth and is used to look at teeth from the crown to the root of the tooth)

  • Palatal or occlusal (can show all the upper and lower teeth together in one image)


Intraoral X ray Machine

The secondary X ray in the dental clinic is the OPG X ray. This is usually taken in a separate room. It is also the opposite of the intraoral X ray and known as the extraoral dental X ray. Another alternate name is the panoramic. The X ray can assist the dentist in finding

  • how many teeth the patient has (ie there may be more teeth than there should be). It will show the position of the teeth for braces and other orthodontic treatment, and also planning for implant treatment.

  • periapical pathologies (disease around the apex or root of the tooth, usually some type of inflammation) and legions.

OPG X ray Machine

X rays really is it's own topic and we have a blog post dedicated to the topic. To find out more about this subject, please find our blog post 'Looking into the Smile: X-rays in Dentistry'.


Periodontal Probe

In most cases, it's long, thin, and ends in a blunt point. The main function of a periodontal probe is to determine the health of the periodontium by measuring the depth of the pocket surrounding a tooth. Periodontal is the study of the surrounding areas of the teeth... namely the gums and supporting bones. The below diagram shows the parts of the periodontium (credit and link to this site- please click on the picture if you wish to follow the link through for more information).




To ensure precision and readability, the instrument's head is marked. The x rays tool must be used correctly to ensure precision. The instrument's tip is inserted into the gingival sulcus (that is the area of potential space between a tooth and the surrounding gingival tissue). We often call these gap a 'pocket' in dentistry. This may expose a possible gap between a teeth and the surrounding structures, with a gentle pressure of 10-20 grams. Periodontal probes should be inserted as deep as possible into the pocket, parallel to the root's outlines. As a consequence, some of the periodontal probe's tip is obscured.

Periodontitis and periodontal probes are a somewhat complicated subject. Luckily however we have a page on this on our website which explains the gums and problems that may happen with them. Please take a look at the subject of gums and gum issues here.



Periodontal Probe is used to measure 'pockets' in the gums

Scaling Device Using Ultrasound

One of the most common dental instruments with names are those found when the dentist is performing a scale and clean. In order to more efficiently clear plaque deposits from your teeth, ultrasonic scalars make use of ultrasound. What is ultrasound? Ultrasound is a device that uses high vibrational energy to blast away calculus mechanically, making it simpler to remove. A little jet of water or antibiotic toothpaste is also blasted from the top of the ultrasonic scalar to cleanse the teeth of plaque germs and calculus, which are disrupted by the shock waves created by the scalar. The ultrasonic scalar’s tip is kept cold by the water jet, which is also very efficient in flushing away debris from the treated tooth. The ultrasonic scalar’s vibrating tip creates turbulence, which in turn causes part of the water to bubble up. Disrupting and dissolving bacteria is made easier by these bubbles, which also assist creates a more hostile environment for 'hypoxic' or oxygen-hating germs (that's right, the bacteria on your teeth is adverse to oxygen).

Aside from removing calculus deposits from exposed surfaces of teeth, ultrasonic scalars may also be utilized sub-gingivitis, indicating they can clear calculus deposit from underneath the gum line, ensuring that tooth roots are cleaned without hurting them. This is quite amazing really as although you have a thick coating of enamel which covers your teeth, the gum and other substances that covers your teeth's roots is much weaker and more vulnerable to harm, therefore it's important to remove any calculus from these areas. If you have any evidence of gum disease, ultrasonic scalars may be quite effective.

Dentista now have the new and gentle way of performing a scale and clean with the Airflow Master. This new technology actually uses high pressured air with tiny particles which act as a gentle but effective abrasive solution on the teeth. The tiny particles are actually extremely effective at getting rid of plaque and calculus and can also get into hard to reach places a lot easier than the traditional scale and clean. To learn more about the Airflow Master, please have a look at our page here and blog here.


Ultrasonic Scalar

Elevators

More dental instruments with names includes dental elevators, commonly referred to as luxators, which are supports used by dentists during tooth extractions. Simply remembering how your dentist utilizes it can help you remember the equipment. Dentists use dental elevators for a variety of reasons, but its major purpose is lifting (elevator) teeth from their sockets before extracting them.


Dental Elevator or Luxator

Air and water syringe

Air and water are what this tool produces by its name. The dental assistant may use this equipment to inject air or water into the patient's mouth. Seeing and feeling air-water syringes is comfortable for some, but for others, they can feel as though there is too much water being pushed into the mouth giving them an uncomfortable feeling. If this happens, just raise your hand. This is a sign to the dentist that you need to communicate something about your treatment (obviously its a bit hard to speak!). Its quite easy for the dental nurse to adjust or change the water for you.

The dentist will often use the air as to dry the teeth. This shows up any calculus a lot more as the moisture of the tooth can make it hard to spot.


Air and Water Syringe

Clamps for the mouth

As part of the dental operations, a metal clamp is used to attach the rubber dam paper all around the crown of the missing tooth that will be treated. In order to accommodate the diverse dental structures in the mouth, clamps are available in a range of forms and sizes. They are also used in a range of procedures such as root canal treatment. To see the use of a dental clamp in action, please have a look at our video on root canals.


Dental Clamp

Ejector for Saliva

During less invasive oral procedures, a tiny and low-volume tube called a saliva ejector is used to suck out saliva from the mouth. Saliva Injectors are used by dentists during procedures to guarantee that the mouths are clear of dirt, saliva or bleeding so they may carry out their duties.

Strictly closing the lips around the saliva injector to eliminate oral fluids is not recommended by a dentist when a patient uses one. This tool actually provides some comfort to treatment performed by the dentist



Dental Ejector for Saliva

Dental Instruments with Names: Conclusion

So there you have it.. some of the dental instruments with names that you will find in the dental surgery. If you do feel some anxiety when going to the dentist, please let us know. We are happy to explain any procedures to you and will walk you through step by step. We also have videos here which can show you procedures. Often you will see that the treatments themselves are not that bad! It's 2022 and you shouldn't and wont feel pain now at the dentist. The field of local anaesthesia has come a long way.. and you don't and shouldn't have to put up with pain or discomfort during your treatment. Finally we also have nitrous oxide or laughing gas, for you to take the edge off when receiving your treatment. We have nitrous oxide plumbed into the building and rooms! It's very simple, quick and effective and best of all, you can drive home after your treatment (after waiting 15 minutes(. If looking for your dentist Noranda or dentist Morley, please come and see the professional team at Dentista Dental Centre. Book your stress free appointment with us today!

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