Our instruments at Dr. Lis Bradley’s Brentwood dental practice are naturally objects of curiosity. They may also be objects of apprehension. To help patients become more comfortable with their dental care, we thought it would be a good idea to explain a little about what our tools are for.
Dental explorers are the instruments we use the most frequently, along with the handheld mirror. Also known as probes, explorers are small metal hooks that can be used to scrape away bits of tartar. They are used to push against enamel and examine gum pockets to determine whether there is an active infection. A variety of probes exist to check the various parts of teeth from different angles and scrape tartar from under the gums.
When we find tooth decay, we numb the patient with an injection and remove damaged enamel with a drill. The drill sprays water onto the teeth while in use to prevent heat damage. Once the decayed enamel has been removed, we mix the composites for a filling on a small spatula. Application and shaping of the filling are done using burnishers, which are instruments with blunt or rounded ends. If a filling needs to be removed, we remove debris with an evacuator, which is a more powerful version of the ejector used to vacuum away saliva.