Abrasive Stones, Burs and Accessories – Dental Instruments


Dental instruments have an important role in the dentist’s practice as they enable the performance of various dental procedures accurately and with precision, with the maximum benefit to the patient.

Dental hand pieces, burs and accessories are among the most frequently used Ortho Hard Wire Cutter instruments by dentists. Hand pieces were initially simple cutters that have now evolved into sophisticated instruments. They can be electric or air driven with a control mechanism that allows the dentist to adjust the settings for the procedure it is used for.

Abrasive stones

Abrasive stones are used both in the dental laboratory and in the mouth cavity. Some of them are directly mounted on the mandrel while others are separate and need a mandrel. The stones are available in different colours and shapes and the colour indicates the type of abrasive material it consists of. The abrasive is usually silicon carbide and suitable to work on ceramics, the structure of the tooth and plastics. Stones made of garnet or aluminium oxide are used for polishing metals in the lab. Heatless stones are made of silicon carbide and rubber. The grit or the particle size on the abrasive stone controls the cutting action and this wears off as the stone works on the tooth structure.

What about diamond dental instruments?

A diamond stone’s cutting area is made of minute crystals of diamonds which are electroplated or bonded to a stainless steel shank. Diamond stones are the preferred choice in dental burs and accessories for their efficiency and are available in various grits ranging from the very fine to coarse. The size and number of crystals decides the grit with smaller crystals having finer grits. The particle size is identified by a manufacturer’s mark that may be a colour code or notch on the shank of the stone. Compared to carbide burs that have six to eight cutting surfaces, diamond stones have thousands.

While the large sized head is used to reduce the tooth structure, others are used to cut and shape to prepare the tooth. The superfine grit is used to finish and polish restoration materials.

Burs and accessories

These are generally made of tungsten carbine or diamond particles, although ceramic is not uncommon. The designs come in various structures and sizes and the dentist’s choice depends on the efficacy of the bur. Not surprisingly, choosing the right hand piece and bur is critical to the safe removal of dental tissues and caries while ensuring that the patient is as comfortable as possible. This also means that these dental instruments must be heat sterilized using appropriate procedures to prevent contamination and cross infection between patients and the dentist. Oral surgeons are especially careful and stay well-equipped at all times.

While high speed hand pieces are used in restorative procedures and endodontics, the low speed variety is used in restorations, oral and periodontal surgery, orthodontic and lab procedures. Developments in technology have produced user friendly hand pieces that work quickly and efficiently, minimizing the trauma to the tooth and patient while allowing the dentist to work ergonomically.


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