There are several of us who detest going to the dentist as we are afraid of the instruments that are there. Dentists need to use specific instruments that enable them to be able to do their job well. Most patients fear the dentist’s drill and just the sound of it can make their hair stand on edge. There are several different kinds of instruments that the dentists need to use specifically for different things such as examining the patient, restoration of the teeth, cleaning of the decayed teeth and extracting the teeth. Dentist uses dental mirror, dental probe, dental explorer, tweezers for examination. Dental drill, dental excavators, chisels and hatchets are used by the patient for cavity preparation and restoration. For root canal treatment, files, reamers, broaches are used by endodontist. For simple uncomplicated tooth extraction, dental forceps and dental elevators are used by the dentist.

Here are the different instruments that the dentist will use:

Dental Mirror

The dental mirror is one instrument that really ensures that the dentist is able to look at the mouth of the patient from whatever angle that they need to. This is a small and round mirror that has a long metal handle. The mirror is specially designed for regular dental check-ups with ease.

Dental Probe

A dental probe is an instrument that is used to find out the condition of the patient’s teeth. This is used to find out soft spots and areas of the teeth where the enamel is not strong. Dental plaque on a child’s teeth can be removed with the help of a dental probe.

Dental Explorer

The dental explorer enables the dentist to be able to find out the cavities or any other concerns that exist in the teeth. This is used for helping the dentist with check-ups and examinations. It is used along with the dental mirror and dental probe. The dental explorer enables the dentist to find out cavities, pits, and areas of tarter on the teeth.


This is a dental instrument that enables the dentist to be able to place and get back small objects in the mouth. Some of them come with a locking mechanism that locks the objects so that they cannot be dropped.

Air and Water Syringe or 3-way syringe

The air and water syringe is to allow the dentist to rinse and dry the patient’s mouth well enough. There is a long hose attached to it. Water syringe is used to make the area moist.  Then dry air is used to dry the mouth. This air and water syringe can be used for regular and special procedures.

Aspirator or Suction device

The suctioning device is to be able to get rid of the surplus saliva that is in the mouth at the time of a dental procedure. The aspirator or suctioning device is made to suck out the overload of saliva from the patient's mouth. Generally, this is not used by the dentist but it is the nurse or dental assistant who will use it at the time of the dental procedures.

Air rotor or Dental Drill or Air Abrasion Unit

A dental drill is the device that is used to take out damaged areas or broken parts from the teeth. The dentist uses this specific device to be able to grind away parts of the teeth that are no longer needed. It is used during the time of a tooth filling or a tooth being repaired.

On the other hand, there are some dentists who go on to take the help of the air abrasion method which is for decayed tooth parts. The method used is to use air abrasion unit which is far more effective and better than the ones that were used traditionally. The way the instrument works is with the use of a stream of aluminum oxide particles that are blown on to the teeth. This tool can work perfectly in place of the dentist's drill however the good thing is that it does not have the sound of the drill and is pain free which is such a relief.

What are the instruments that the dentist will use to fill cavities

There are several dental concerns that need the tooth to be restored to its original glory and also the cavities to be filled

Restoration tools that the dentist needs to use:

  1. Spoon excavators and
  2. Chisels of different kinds that depend on the size and shape
  3. Hatchets

Spoon Excavator

This is an instrument that is double-ended and has a spoon,   claw,   or disk-shaped   blade at the end.   Spoon excavators are used by the dentist for the main purpose of removing the debris that collect in tooth cavities.  The tips and sides that you find on the Spoon Excavator are made to perform at peak efficiency. They are in several different sizes that vary from small to large. The Spoon Excavators resemble small shovels that are used to hollow out in the cavity and scrape out the decay from the cavity.

Dental Chisels

These are instruments that are used just as a chisel would be. Chisels are used to split open the tooth enamel and smoothen cavity walls and to sharpen cavity preparations. These Dental chisels are used in operative dentistry and are in two types which are Wedelstaedt and biangle chisels. The   Wedelstaedts   consist of a little bit of curved shanks and are used mainly used by the dentist on frontal teeth. On the other hand, the biangle chisels have two different angles. The first one is to be found at the shank and the second one at the working end.  The way they have been designed enables one to be able to reach the tooth structures that would not have been reachable if the dentist were to be working with a straight chisel.


These are also instruments that are used by the dentist for cutting.

A dental hatchet looks similar to a camper’s hatchet and the only predominant difference in it is that it is far smaller in size then the other hatchets.  Like dental chisels these hatchets too have single cutting ends and some way cutting edges on both ends of the handle.

There are condensers that are used for fillings in teeth. These condensers come in two different kinds which are parallelogram type of condensers and cylindrical condensers. Burnishers are the ones that are used for polishing and burnishing of the amalgam restorations. Burnishers are those instruments that are flat plastic and can be found in different shapes such as ball burnisher, cone burnisher, pear shaped burnisher.

Carvers are the ones that are in use by the dentist for shaping and carving in case of amalgam restorations. If the dentist wants to go ahead and remove the decayed part of the teeth, then the best option from the instruments is the use of an air rotor with burs that are attached to it.

Air Rotors:

This is a really small and yet extremely high-speed drill which is used in dentistry to be able to scrape off decayed tooth material before the dentist goes on to insert dental filling.

Dental drills are those instruments that are used by the dentist for patients with cavities. Modern dental drills can run really fast at up to 400,000 rpm and burs which are metal alloys used in them.  Burs are used to make most dental tools.

The good thing is that dental burs are there in several different kinds and shapes so that the right one can be used for specific purposes. They are made of steel that has a tungsten carbide coating or of tungsten carbide on them throughout. The large variety of burs can be put to different kinds of uses such to repair chipping, and smooth out the edges of the teeth. Some burs can also be used for cleaning and the rotating movement of a small bur can remove tough stains from the teeth that might not have been otherwise possible.

Dental drills emit a characteristic, high-pitched sound which is one of the main factors in the fear that people have with dentistry.

Instruments used for Root Canal Treatment

When the contamination of the tooth reaches deep inside the tooth right up to the pulp, then the only way left to save your tooth is by a root canal procedure. In Root Canal Treatment the pulp from the tooth is removed from the crown and the root. The region is cleaned by the dentist and then filled with a particular kind of filling material. After this the cavity is filled and the root canal treatment is over. The first thing in a root canal treatment is to first use an air motor and then the other endodontic instruments are used.

Endodontic instruments are traditionally divided into four segments

  1. Exploring
  2. Extirpating
  3. Enlarging (cleaning and shaping), and
  4. Filling


The natural way of the tooth and mouth has many canals and crevices that could be difficult to reach. However, pulp stones, dystrophic calcifications and restorations can change the real pattern that is found. The dental instrument called endodontic explorer is used to locate openings, and helps to remove calcification.


The barbed broach is an instrument that is used for extirpating and not for enlarging. The barbed broach is made up of a tapered round shaft that helps to lift up portions of metal of the shaft at the perfect angle. The high barbs allow the pulp tissue to be out of the way and then they can be easily lifted out of the canal. The largest size broach can fit in loosely in the specific canal.

The thing with a broach is that it should not be engaged with the canal. This is advanced and if there is too much pressure placed on the barbs, then they will go on to flatten out alongside the shaft. As the instrument is removed the barbs fix themselves to the walls and this will make it tough for the broach to be removed. The barbs get pulled out of the shaft and this makes it an easily broken instrument and if not handled carefully will break easily. The fit must be loose in order for this not to happen.


The K-type file is made with the help of twisting or grinding a square or triangular narrowed to a point shaft. This enables the cutting edges to be perpendicular to the long entrance of the instrument. If the dentist wants to perform cleaning and shaping of the teeth then this is the instrument most commonly used.

The K-file works on the concept of the pull feature. It scrapes the canal walls as it moves away from the canal in that particular movement. The way it rotates is to a full clockwise length of 1/4 to 1/2 turns which makes it extremely flexible and versatile. It can also be withdrawn while it is still pushed against the walls. This can be repeated several times until the canal has been enlarged according to requirement for the procedure. The file is continuously cleaned as it is used time and time again. If the instrument gets filled up with filings or debris then it won’t be used in that condition.

The root canal reamer is made with the help of twisting a pointed square or a triangular shaft. This makes the twists result in an instrument that has the right kind of cutting edges that continue to remain parallel to its long axis. The way this instrument works is by rotational movement of the reamer 1/4 to 1/2 turn clockwise. These then go on to scrape out the canal walls as it goes closer to the working length. The reamer must be in constant touch with the canal walls if it has to work in the most efficient way. At the same time the person using it must note that it must not bind hard or it will split.

In the case of a filing, the gutta percha is put to use. Gutta percha can be filled in the canals by using the condenser. There are two different kinds of condensers namely, parallelogram condensers and cylindrical condensers that may be used by the dentist.

Instruments used for Dental Cleaning

If the dentist needs to measure and find out the depth of bone and tissue around each tooth, then what they need is a periodontal probe. A periodontal probe is a clasp-shaped, tool which has a blunt end that is sensitive to the gums and gum lines. The main purpose for it is it examines these specific areas. The periodontal probe is not as pointed as sickle probe which is used in order to find out if there is any tooth decay. The dentist might also use it to scrape off plaque that is difficult to come off. The disadvantage of a sickle probe is that it could scrape off the good enamel of the tooth and therefore they aren’t preferred a lot by dentists nowadays.

Ultrasonic Scaler:

Is an instrument that uses vibration sensations to remove stubborn plaque deposits, or calculus on the teeth. The way it is made is to have a wand with a curved metal tip at one end. This instrument at times goes on to make a whirring sound as it is being used. This could depend on the level that the instrument is set at.\

The ultrasonic scalers maintain intent is to cool the mouth and teeth with a light water spray since the metal tip can get hot. It works effectively as it can remove some really large pieces of calculus from the teeth in no time.

Hand Instruments:

The use of hand instruments will be after the teeth have been cleaned using the ultrasonic scaler. Hand instruments are made up of two kinds’ predominantly universal scalers and curettes.

  1. Universal Scalers are the ones that have significant large metal tips. They are used in all parts of the mouth to remove calculus above the gum line.
  2. Curettes are those instruments that aim at removing plaque from specific areas. They come in different shapes based on the part of the mouth that they are going to be used for. The tips are curved so that they can be adaptable based on the shape of the mouth and the areas that they are accessing. They are instruments that can be safely used for cleaning below the gum line.

Slow-Speed Polisher:

A slow-speed hand piece is most of the times used as a dental instrument for cleaning. A spinning polishing cup is seen on the hand piece. Its main purpose is to be able to ensure that the final polishing treatment for the teeth is done perfectly. A thick adhesive like material is rubbed onto the teeth, and the polishing action of the hand piece and rubber cup goes on to ensure that the teeth are left looking clean and shiny with a perfect finish to them.

The polishing equipment goes on to remove any plaque that may have been left over during the cleaning process.

Instruments that are used for Tooth Extractions

When an extraction has to be pain free then the right instruments have to be there. Extractions are recommended by the dentists for several reasons and one of the major ones is for tooth infection that is deep rooted.

The main instruments that a dentist needs in times of an extraction are the Forceps and elevators

Forceps are instruments that look just like tweezers but they have a firm grip which allows the dentist to exert sufficient force. The forceps allow the tooth to be held firmly and yet the dentist will be able to move it back and forth before it is plugged out. The tooth needs to be pulled out from the roots and for that the forceps are just the rightly designed instruments. They can also maneuver themselves into any part of the mouth in the most effortless of ways.

In case of teeth that are deeply entrenched and embedded in the gums then the use of the forceps is just not enough. In that case what is needed are elevator tools that need to be used along with the forceps. Elevator tools can act as levers and these are put between the tissues and in between the teeth and its wedges. The bone allows the teeth not to shift.

Elevator tools look just like tiny screwdrivers. They are of three different kinds such as straight elevators, apexo elevators and cryers. If the dentist wants to perform a closed or intraalveolar tooth extraction then they will certainly need forceps and elevators.

If the dentist wants to perform a surgical tooth extraction then what they need is a blade that is used for the right amount of cut. Bone cutting can be done using these surgical tooth extractions with the help of air rotors. Bone cutting needs to be done with the help of lots of amount of water or saline. This can be used with the help of a dental drill or the dental assistant might use it.

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