There are several crucial tools used at dental offices and dental assistant schools in NJ today that professionals and patients rely on for the best dental care. As advancements in dentistry come about, many long-standing instruments become phased out and replaced with newer, lighter, more effective ones. However, some instruments remain on the table as irreplaceable, necessary and pertinent to excellent oral health care, some of which include the dental explorer, the dental mirror, and dental bite wings, or bite blockers.
One of the most commonly-used and important tools in the field of dentistry is the dental explorer. Also known as a sickle probe because of the shape of the tip, there are several types and sizes, with the most common being the No. 23.
The main use of this instrument is to search around areas of the teeth to determine whether or not tooth decay is present. The sharp, pointed tip is used to reveal soft spots and holes in teeth caused by decay. Another use for the dental explorer is for finding hard food deposits that often site under the gum line. Although there are many alternative tools and methods today that are becoming more commonplace for this purpose, such as using radiographs, many dental professionals still will use the dental explorer due to its ease of use and versatility.
You will never walk into a dental care office or dental assistant school in New Jersey without seeing a dental mirror. This has a long handle similar to the handle of the dental explorer and is used to enable dental professionals to easily access the areas of the mouth, teeth and gums that are most difficult to see, such as the backs of the back teeth. These mirrors can be made as disposable for one-time use or they may be designed for repeated use. There are several sizes of dental mirrors in common use with dentists, ranging from the very small variety for children to larger ones for adults.
Bite wings, or bite blockers, are often used in dental radiology during x-rays of the jaw, teeth and mouth. They are available in many different sizes and are used to separate the teeth a bit for a clear view of all faces of each tooth. These are normally small paper or foam inserts that require no adhesive; they are simply inserted into the side of the mouth and are removed just as easily once x-rays have been completed. Bite wings are normally 100% latex-free and are quick and easy, not to mention comfortable for dental patients.
As technology advances not only in medicine but also in dentistry, new tools, methods and machinery are quickly developing to expand the simplicity and extent of dental care. As some tools are gradually phased out of use in offices and dental assisting schools in NJ, others like the dental mirror, dental explorer and bite wings continue to be valuable assets for dental practitioners.