6 Important Tools You May See at the Dentist’s Office
Learn about the professional dental tools used to keep teeth clean & healthy.
When choosing a dental clinic, naturally the expertise and care philosophy of the dentists is very important. However, you also want to make sure the clinic has the right equipment to provide the best possible care. This includes a mix of tried-and-true, low-tech standbys as well as the latest and greatest cutting-edge technologies. Here is a brief overview of 6 important dental tools you may encounter when visiting the dentist at California Dental Group.
The dental mirror is a perfect example of a simple, low-tech tool that is essential for proper dental care. The mirror lets the dentist or hygienist view all sides of every tooth in order to make sure they are clean and healthy. It also magnifies teeth slightly so the dentist can provide an extra-thorough examination.
The Dental Explorer
Sometimes also called the pick or the probe, this thin metal hook is wielded by the dentist or dental hygienist to check the level of plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth and to look for cavities. A blunted, straight version of this tool is used to explore gum pockets to check for a healthy depth and make sure gums are not infected.
If you do have a cavity, you will meet the drill. Once the most feared tool in a dentist’s arsenal, today cavities can be drilled quickly and virtually painlessly with the help of high-tech diamond burrs and targeted painkillers like Novocain. Different burrs or tips can be placed on the drill to provide other services like smoothing out composite fillings, fixing minor chips, and removing tartar.
This little tube is used to remove saliva and keep the mouth dry while the dentist or hygienist is working. Not only does this make you more comfortable, it also helps protect you from accidentally swallowing any toothpaste during a cleaning or bits of tooth or debris during a dental procedure involving the drill.
The X-Ray Machine
X-rays are a very important diagnostic tool for any dentist. Typically x-rays are required every 3 to 5 years, unless you have an issue sooner that merits a new set of x-rays being taken. Examples of problems that can be identified with x-rays include:
- Abscesses or cysts
- Bone loss
- Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors
- Decay between the teeth
- Developmental abnormalities
- Poor tooth and root positions
- Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line
One final tool that you will find only at dental offices that keep up with the latest technology is a digital scanner. At California Dental Group, we have the iTero scanner which enables us to create highly precise 3D models of your teeth for use in ordering crowns or bridges. The scanner replaces the old and imprecise method of creating dental impressions by placing uncomfortable trays and ill-tasting compounds in the patient’s mouth. Instead, we simply run the iTero wand over the surfaces of teeth and the process is done in a matter of seconds.