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What Tools to Expect at the Dentist

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shutterstock_133576208Dental tools are designed to improve the quality of your teeth, help maintain cleanliness, and prevent disease or decay. They have been specially designed to help your dentist protect and clean your teeth.

Mirror on a stick

This small, round mirror can be easily angled and moved to allow a clear view of hidden or the back of your teeth.

Sickle probe

A sickle probe, also known as a “dental explorer”, is a metal wand with a thin, curved hook. Your dentist will use this tool to determine the amount of enamel, plaque and tartar on a tooth, while testing the tooth’s strength.

High speed drill

This fast-turning dental drill can be used with different heads for filling cavities, repairing chips, smoothing teeth and removing tooth decay. With so many uses, it’s an essential tool for every dentist.

Periodontal probe

A periodontal probe is similar to a sickle probe, but the end of the probe is blunt instead of sharp. Your dentist will use this to measure the amount of space between your gum tissue and tooth. (Too much could be a sign of tooth decay).

Dental forceps

Tooth extracting forceps are used for removing teeth.

Impression tray

shutterstock_176218475Most dentists will use a disposable impression tray when capturing a part or all of a person’s dentition and surrounding structures of oral cavity. Shaped like a mouthguard, these have a gel in the plate that moulds itself to the shape of your teeth.


Can be used to precisely place alginate into difficult to reach areas of the mouth.

Plaster knife

A plaster knife is used to cut or curve dental plaster or dental stone.

Cotton pliers

Cotton pliers are a tweezer-like tool that’s used to hold cotton pellets or pledgets, apply medicaments or carry small items around the mouth.

Saliva ejector

A saliva ejector removes saliva, blood, water or debris using a vacuum supply.

Dental curing light

A dental curing light can be used on varying materials within the mouth that can be curable by light. Most commonly this light is used to cure the material of a filling when your dentist is filling in a cavity. The light will usually be a bright blue.

Local anaesthesia

An anesthetic drug that numbs a specific area of the mouth and last for a short period of time. Numbing lasts for the duration of the procedure and usually allows for recovery time too.

Composite resin

Not really a tool, this is the material that is usually used by dentists for fillings. It will take on the same colour of your natural teeth, and is said to last for at least five years. The dental curing light is used to harden the material, and it bonds with the enamel of your teeth in seconds.

If your dentist ever uses a tool other than these that you are curious about, why not ask them what it is? The more you know about your teeth, the better you will be at protecting them from damage in the long run.

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