What Do Dental Tools Do?

When you go for a dental appointment, you are probably aware that the dentist and/or hygienist are using various tools as they work on your teeth. However, you may not be aware of what these tools are or what, specifically, they do in your mouth. Some are simple, non-mechanized hand tools operated solely by manual dexterity. Others are motorized and require dental rotors and turbines in order to run.

1. Suction Device

Also called a saliva ejector, the suction device is like a tiny wet/dry vacuum cleaner for your mouth. A dentist uses the suction device to remove moisture to provide a dry surface. This helps to facilitate the evaluation he or she is performing inside your mouth.

2. Polishers

It is easier for healthy gum tissue to attach to smooth tooth surfaces. Therefore, after a cleaning takes place, a dentist or hygienist may use a polisher and a mildly abrasive paste to smooth down any uneven surfaces of each tooth. The most commonly used polisher is a low-speed electric rotary tool with a small rubber cup attached to the end. It is also called a prophy angle.

3. Dental Drill

A dental drill causes some people discomfort because of the vibrations that it causes on the teeth or the loud noises it makes. However, dentist administers oral anesthesia before using the drill, so it is not painful. It spins at over 250,000 RPM to effectively remove tooth decay. To prevent the drill from overheating your tooth, it also sprays water in your mouth at the same time.

4. Scalers

A scaler is a two-sided instrument with a little hook-shaped tool at either end. One of the hooks is blunt and curved. It is used to reach below the gumline to remove tartar and plaque without causing injury to the delicate tissue. The other end is pointed and is used to clean the parts of each tooth that extend above the gumline. Scalers are non-motorized manual instruments about the size of a pencil.

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