Understanding Different Dental Tools

Do you get nervous every time you go to the dentist? Walking into the dentist’s office and seeing that tray of shiny metal tools next to the chair can cause some serious fear and anxiety in patients. To make patients feel more comfortable and less nervous while sitting in the dentist’s chair, it helps for them to understand what each tool is used for. Knowing the purpose of each tool and what to expect can really help to relieve some stress associated with the dentist.

Here are some of the basic dentistry tools to be familiar with before your next visit to the dentist:

The Mirror

This tool, although not a scary one, is very important and is used by the dentist in order to view the hidden and harder to see areas of the mouth. The backside of the teeth and gums are just as important as the front and there can be dental problems hiding back there that can’t be seen without the mirror. If they can’t be seen, these oral problems can go undetected and cause serious oral and health problems. The mirror is also used to keep your tongue in place while the dentist is working inside your mouth so that it doesn’t get in the way during your cleaning or other dental procedure.

The Sickle Probe

The sickle probe is the dental tool that looks like a sharp metal hook. This tool is used by the dentist to test the tooth’s hardness and to examine the tooth’s enamel. During a cleaning, this tool is used to scrape some tartar and plaque from the teeth as well as to test for cavities and gum disease. The sharp probe is stuck into the pockets of the teeth to test for cavities and if the probe sticks in the pocket, the dentist may want to further investigate for a cavity in that tooth.

The Scaler

A scaler is used to further remove plaque and tartar from the teeth. Plaque and tartar, if not removed during a cleaning at the dentist, can cause tooth decay which can lead to worse oral and health problems down the road. Although brushing and flossing can help to remove some plaque and tartar, more removal of plaque buildup is necessary at an annual dentist visit which is crucial for good oral health.

The Drill

The sound alone can make a patient squirm. The drill, although one of the most feared dental tools, for some patients is one of the most important. Drills can be used for many different dental procedures such as filling cavities, smoothing teeth after a chip, or removing tooth decay before filling in a cavity. These drills dispense water while in use to protect the teeth from the heat of the tool.

The Suction Device

This tool is very useful during any type of dental procedure or cleaning. While the dentist is working in your mouth, they usually need a dry surface to work with so the suction device serves to remove any excess saliva, water, blood or debris from your mouth. This tool may seem scary and may stick to your tongue or cheek from time to time but is nothing to be scared of.

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