Dental instruments

Dental instruments
Mouth mirror, a commonly used dental instrument

Dental instruments are the tools that dental professionals use to provide dental treatment. They include tools to examine, manipulate, restore and remove teeth and surrounding oral structures.

Standard instruments are the instruments used to examine, restore and extract teeth and manipulate tissues.


Examination instruments

These tools allow the dental professional to manipulate tissues, to allow better visual access during treatment or during dental examination.


Dental mirrors are used by the dentist or dental auxiliary to view a mirror image of the teeth in locations of the mouth where visibility is difficult or impossible. They also are useful for reflecting light onto desired surfaces, and with retraction of soft tissues to improve access or vision.



Cheek retractor
  • Mouth prop
  • Dental mirror
  • Cheek retractor
  • Tongue retractor
  • Lip retractor

Local anesthesia

Dental drills

A high-speed dental handpiece.

Dental handpieces come in many varying types which include: High speed air driven (also known as an airotor), slow speed, friction grip, surgical hand piece. Straight handpiece with a sharp bur.


Dental Burs cutting surface are either made of a multifluted tungsten carbide, a diamond coated tip or a stainless steel multi fluted rosehead. There are many different types and classifications of burs some of the most common are: the round bur (sizes ¼ to 10) or inverted cone (sizes 33½ to 90L). Burs are also classified by the type of shank. For instance a latch type, or right angle bur is only used in the slow speed handpiece with contra-angle attachment. Long shank or shaft is only used in the slow speed when the contra-angle is not in use, and finally a friction grip bur which is a small bur used only in the high-speed handpiece.

There are many bur shapes that are utilized in various specific procedures.

Operative burs

Flat fissure, pear-shaped, football, round, tapered, flame, chamfer, bevel, end cut, bud bur, steel, inverted cone, diamond, brown stone, and greenstone.

Restorative instruments


  • Spoon excavator: which is used to remove soft carious decay
  • Half hollenbach: this instrument is usually used to test for overhangs or flash
  • Chisels:
    • Straight - bevels the cavosurface margin and used in 3, 4 and 5 classifications of cavities on the maxillary.
    • Wedelstaedt - only used in the anterior for classes 3, 4 and 5 as well.
    • Bin Angle - this is held in a pen grasp and used for class 2 maxillary only.


  • Flat plastic
  • Ball burnisher
  • Beavertail burnisher
  • Cone burnisher
  • Pear shaped burnisher


Pluggers are also known as amalgam condensers.

  • Amalgam plugger
  • 49 plugger

Periodontal scalers


Types include:

  • Universal curettes - these have a semicircular tip used at 90° to the tooth root surface.
  • Gracey curettes - semicircle tipped, but one edge lower than the other, used at 70° to the tooth root surface.

Prosthodontic instruments

Removable prosthodontics

  • Spatula
  • Fox plane
  • Willis gauge
  • Bunsen burner
  • Wax knife
  • Le cron
  • Calipers

Extraction/surgical instruments

Dental forceps

  • Cow horns
  • Upper universals
  • Upper universal fine
  • Lower universals
  • Upper canine
  • Upper straight long
  • Upper straight short
  • Upper right molar
  • Upper left molar
  • Upper wisdom tooth
  • Greyhound
  • Root
  • Bayonet


  • Narrow and wide, straight and curved luxators
  • Couplands elevator
  • Warwick James elevator
  • Cryer elevator
  • Periosteal elevator
  • Root-tip pick elevator
  • Potts elevator
  • Cogswell-A elevator


Orthodontic instruments

Endodontic instruments

  • K-file
  • Hedstrom file
  • Gates glidden
  • Finger spreader
  • Lentulo spiral
  • Endodontic explorer
  • Apex locator
  • Microscope

See also

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