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Need a quick refresher on your dental instruments? Here’s an overview of some of the most commonly used dental instruments, as well as some tips to help you remember their names:
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This device is used to provide indirect vision, retracts lips, cheeks, and tongue. It can redirect light into the mouth. The name is pretty easy to remember because it’s a mirror that goes in the mouth!
This device is used to examine teeth for decay, calculus, furcations and other abnormalities. The name is a little trickier to remember you have to think about the way that it is used. The explorers are used to explore the mouth and find issues that might be troubling the patient.
This instrument is used to transfer materials in or out of the oral cavity. It’s most commonly used to grip cotton, but can be used in other ways. The latin root for “-cept” means to grab or take hold of something, which can help you identify the name when you see it.
This instrument is used to measure periodontal pocket depth in millimeter increments. The Greek root for “peri-” means that something is related to bone or the tissue around a tooth, so that can remind you that it’s a tool for evaluating the state of the mouth in that area.
This device is used to remove tartar from teeth. The Latin root for “ultra-” means that something is extreme or greater than, and “-sonic” is the root meaning for “sound”, so the ultrasonic scaler is a tartar removal tool that creates vibrations that reverberate outside the audible range of hearing for humans.
This instrument is used for the removal of teeth. We know that forceps are for grabbing things from the cotton forceps, so the most important thing to remember that the “ex-” in “extract” comes from the latin word which means “to dig or pull out”.
This tool is used to assist with tooth extractions. The easy way to remember the name for this tool is to remember how it is used. Dental elevators are used to lift teeth in their sockets before extraction to prevent trauma to the surrounding area of the mouth.
This instrument allows the dental assistant to inject air or water into the oral cavity. Most people have experience with this tool because they see and feel it during their regular dentist visits. Air and water are what come out of it, and it’s called a syringe because of the way it injects the water or air.
This instrument is used to remove excess saliva or water from the oral cavity during dental procedures. This is another tool that most people are familiar with from their dentist visits. While a patient is being worked on, saliva often builds up in the mouth, so this device is used to suck out or eject the saliva from the mouth.
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