If you ask the average person they probably would say that they don’t enjoy going to the dentist.
Dentists actually are pretty understand on this. Not only do dentists tend to work very close to a patient, the light is bright, and lets face it, some of the tools we use are rather, sharp.
At Mint Dental we’d like to alleviate some of the discomfort that comes from a visit.
With that in mind, we’ve made a list of our common tools, what they do and why we use them. Hopefully this knowledge will make your next visit a bit more pleasant!
The Dental Handpiece
This little device is used as a small drill of sorts. It houses the attachment that dentists use to do what would otherwise be laborious manual work, such as polishing teeth or sanding away cavities and makes his or her job a lot easier.
This tool has a small motor in it that spins at high revolutions per second in order to get many detailed tasks done. It sands away the dead part of the tooth that was eaten away by cavities. Your dentist also has the flexibility with this tool to switch out the attachment and use a tooth polisher to polish the teeth after a dental cleaning.
Dental Mouth Mirror
Possibly the most common dental instruments used in the office on a daily basis. There are very few, if any, dentistry tools that are more common than the mouth mirror.
This little device does just what the name suggests: it allows the dentist to see the backside of teeth more clearly, so as to properly diagnose dental issues or to complete a thorough dental cleaning.
The dental mirror also aids in spotting potential cavities and is commonly used in diagnosing small cavities before they actually develop towards the back of the mouth. It is commonly used in conjunction with the dental probe.
The Dental Probe
It is very common to see this tool right next to the mirror in procedures that involve any sort of oral examination.
The dentist needs the dental probe tool to poke around the teeth in efforts to search for cavities. After finding a potential problem spot with the mirror its common to probe the area to confirm what the dentist is seeing.
There is also a very similar-looking specialized tool, called the periodontal probe, that measures the depth of the gap between the gums and the teeth where periodontal disease may be suspected.
Perhaps the most valuable tool in the dentist’s tool belt is local anesthesia. Given, it’s not necessarily a “tool”, per se. It is also not specific to dentistry, but it’s use cannot be underestimated. Thanks to anesthesia the patient doesn’t feel pain as they are getting work done to their teeth.
This could especially be true in cases of getting fill-in work done and is typically shot in the cheek then travels through the gums so as to relieve the patient of any anxiety about feeling sharp pains during the dental work.
The final dental instruments we want to address are retractors. These actually come in several different shapes and sizes, but they are all used to “pull back” different parts of the mouth.
For example, there are tongue retractors, cheek retractors, and even lip retractors. The type used will depend on the situation and where the dentist needs to work or perform an examination for longer time periods.
This little tool is also designed to provide a comfortable experience for the patient, so they can relax and let the retractor do the work of exposing otherwise hard to see places of the mouth.
Other Dental Instruments
While these are the most common tools we use on any given day, dentists have a very wide variety of instruments at our disposal for different situations.
With this knowledge in hand, hopefully you won’t feel as nervous or apprehensive coming into see us for your next checkup!
If you have any questions about these instruments, or need to schedule an appointment, contact us or call 907-313-1862 to speak to our staff!