“What is that thing?” That’s a question we hear a lot at our Hickory dentist office. And it’s perfectly understandable—having a foreign object inserted into your mouth can be pretty scary, even if you don’t have a dental phobia. Below is more information about the instruments most commonly used in the dentist’s office, and how they help us take care of your health!
The most feared dental instrument is probably the dental explorer, which resembles a hook with a pointy end. Although this device may look like has an evil purpose, though, it’s only used to gently tap around the enamel in search of tooth decay. If the explorer “sticks” in a certain spot, there may be a cavity present there.
Probably the most recognizable dental instrument, the mouth mirror isn’t just used to look at your teeth; it’s also often used to pull the patient’s cheeks back so the dentist can get a better look.
Some patients have remarked that the periodontal probe looks a little bit like a mosquito leg, due to its small markings, spaced one millimeter apart. This implement is used to measure bone loss around the tooth, or periodontitis. The dentist will carefully slide the probe into the space between the tooth and gums. The deeper it goes, the more bone loss is present. Healthy teeth should have a “pocket” below 3mm; a pocket higher than that may indicate gingivitis or periodontitis.
A spoon excavator gets its name from its flat, rounded end. It is most commonly used to remove decay or debris, although it can also be used for many other tasks, such as shaping composite resin.
Cotton pliers are another rather wicked-looking implement whose purpose is quite benign. The cotton pliers are essentially just long-handled tweezers, bent at a small angle for greater accuracy and precision when placing, you guessed it, rolls of cotton. Should you ever require a tooth extraction, the dentist will likely use extraction forceps, which do look a bit like pliers. However, these should not be out for a standard dental exam.
Whether you need a simple tooth cleaning, or a more serious restorative dental procedure, Viewmont Family Dentistry is here to help you every step of the way. Our Hickory dentis and staff go above and beyond to help patients feel relaxed and comfortable in the dentist’s chair. If you have any questions or would like to request an appointment with our office, please click here.