Basic Dental Equipment and Instruments

Basic Dental Equipment and Instruments

Anyone who has sat in a dentist’s exam chair should have noticed all the shiny tools and machines neatly arranged about the room. Some may appear quite similar. Dental instruments are necessary parts of the whole oral care experience. Some may look more worn than others, but that doesn’t mean they don’t function just as well as the newer pieces. Browse through the equipment and instruments the next time you are in the treatment room and look out for the following items.

Treatment Chair: This is the highlight of the room, the premiere piece of dental equipment. Your dentist may have purchased the exam chair new or gotten it refurbished. Regardless, a quality dental chair must be stable, comfortable and function properly. First introduced in 1970, today’s dental chairs now offer running water, LCD displays, and better spinal support.

Saliva Ejector: You know this device by its signature sound. A saliva ejector vacuums away saliva during dental procedures by use of suction. Have no fear of your mouth drying out, only the excess saliva is filtered out of the way.

Exam Instruments: These are the tools your dentist uses to get a better view inside your mouth, find the cause of pain, and repair an infected or damaged tooth.

  • A mirror is used to view hidden areas such as back teeth and rear gaps, or to thump a tooth to check for pain.
  • An explorer scrapes away plaque and tartar buildup and is used to determine the presence of decay.
  • A periodontal probe measures the depth of gum pocket between teeth. It is also used to monitor the progress of orthodontic treatment.

Dental Tweezers: These surgical grade tweezers are used to grasp, hold and push cotton around in the mouth to absorb saliva.

Dental Excavator: This tool is used to remove decay; different shaped blades correspond to the tooth being treated. Dental excavators are available with claw, spoon and disk-like ends.

Dental Drill: Once the source of pain has been pinpointed, your dentist will likely need to pull out the drill to excavate the tooth. A dental drill has a variety of dental burs, or attachments, designed to break through the hard surface enamel. The primary purpose of having a drill in a dental office is to prepare a decayed tooth for a filling.

Dental Syringe: This type of syringe is designed specifically for injecting precise amounts of anesthesia directly into the soft tissues of the mouth. A dental syringe can also be used to withdraw pus or other liquids from the gums.