Whether you are working in the dental field, starting dental or dental hygiene school or simply a dental patient, you may have questions about the many types of equipment that are used daily in a dental office. These dental parts that make so much noise can often be frightening, but when you are aware of what they are and how they are used they are less scary. Common dental equipment includes high and slow speed handpieces and ultrasonic scalers.
High and Slow Speed Handpieces
High speed handpieces are most often used by dentists and are what many patients refer to as a “drill.” These handpieces have different types of small burs that attach to them in order for the dentist to shape the tooth and remove decay. Slow speed handpieces, on the other hand, are mainly used by dental hygienists and are what many patients know as the “polishing brush.” These handpieces often have plastic, brush-like attachments that use a special type of toothpaste to remove surface stains from teeth. Because both types of handpieces used compressed air to operate, they typically make a lot of noise.
Ultrasonic scalers are often used by hygienists to remove plaque and calculus, soft and hard deposits that build up on the teeth over time that cannot be removed by simple brushing. These instruments spray water to keep the instrument cool during use and to flush away bacteria and calculus from the gumline.
There are many types of dental equipment used each and every day in dental offices, and learning a few basic parts of the dental operation can help you make sense of what is going on. With basic knowledge of dental parts and how they work, you can be a more informed patient or an employee who can help your patients understand more so that they can feel at ease.