When people admit to having fears about going to the dentist, it usually isn't the dentist they're scared of. Rather their fear has to do with that row of gleaming metal tools used to poke, scrape, and prod at their teeth. Fortunately, it is possible to alleviate such fears by increasing your understanding of the manual tools utilized by a dentist. This article will help ease your dental worries by discussing three common classes of dental instruments.
Explorers are perhaps the most commonly utilized class of dental tool. Unfortunately for many patients, they are also among the most intimidating in appearance, since they often consist of sharply pointed hooks and spines. Yet the purpose of an explorer is actually quite benign. They are simply used to examine the surface of the tooth--along with any restorations, such as fillings and crowns--for irregularities.
Dental explorers are also often referred to as probes. They come in a wide variety of configurations. Many of the differences in shape between them are meant to allow the dentist to comfortably access different parts of the tooth and gums. Interproximal explorers, for instance, are designed so as to reach around to the back side of a tooth. Periodontal explorers, on the other hand, are designed to allow the dentist to gauge the depth of the gum pockets.
At first glance, an excavator may seem a lot like an explorer. Yet look closer and you will see that, rather than having a sharply pointed tip, an excavator has a tiny spoon-like structure at its tip. This class of dental tools is used for removing softened material from a tooth. Such material may include portions of decay as well as temporary fillings and other removable structures. The shape of an excavator also allows it to be used for such tasks as carving amalgam fillings.
Condensers are used to shape and contour amalgam that has been pressed into a cavity or area of decay. Condensers are one of the most important tools used in repairing dental decay, since they reduce the porosity of the dental amalgam. This helps to improve the structural integrity of the amalgam, making it much less likely that the filling will chip, crack, or work loose with time. Condensers come in a wide array of shapes and designs, each with its own specific function. For instance, interproximal condensers are shaped so as to allow them to condense amalgam into a cavity located on the hard-to-reach back side of a tooth.
For more information about dental instruments or problems, contact a dental clinic in your area or visit websites like http://www.nwidentist.com/.