Understanding Dental Instruments ( Part 2 )

After discussing about exploring instruments, scaling instruments and restorative instruments, let’s move on to root canal instruments.

When the caries has extended to the pulp tissues, then you will need a root canal treatment.

Caries Extending to Enamel

Caries extending to enamel needs restoration by amalgam/composite or other restorative materials. Does not require root canal therapy.

Caries extending to dentin needs restoration by amalgam/composite or other restorative materials. Does not require root canal therapy.

Caries extending to pulp needs root canal therapy.

Root Canal Instruments are divided into 4 types according to the procedures and functions.

1. Endodontic Explorers

-Smooth Broaches

Endodontic Explorer

-Endodontic Explorers : These instruments are very stiff and should not be inserted into canals or used for condensing guttapercha. Explorers should never be heated. This double ended instrument with long tapered tines is designed to facilitates the location of canal orifice.

2) Debridement Explorers 

Barbed Broach

-Barbed broach : It is used to extripate the pulp. It is also used to remove debris and other foreign material, absorbent points, cotton pellets and etc. There are a variety of sizes from triple extra fine to extra coarse. Barbed broaches break easily especially if they bind in the root canal. Hence the root canal should be enlarged before insertion of broach.

3) Root Canal Shaping Instruments Reamers : They are manufactured from stainless steel triangular blank. It has less number of flutes as to compared to Files. They do not break easily unless they have an undetected steel shaft or until the instrument is strained or deformed. The flutes are loosely twisted.

K-Files :    They are manufactured from stainless steel square blank. It has more number of flutes as to compared to Files. They do not break easily unless they have an undetected steel shaft or until the instrument is strained or deformed. The flutes are tightly twisted.

Other types of files :

a) K-Flex Files

b) Hedstroem Files ( H Files )

c) Uni Files

d) S Files

e) Flexofile

f) Niti Files

g) Greater Taper Hand Files

h) Series 29 Files

4) Obturating Materials


Pluggers : They have smooth and flat apical tips. They are used for condensation of gutta percha during obturation. It is primarily used for vertical condensation.

Spreaders : They are long tapered pointed instruments, available in a wide variety of lengths and taper. They are used to condense the filling material laterally against the canal walls creating space for insertion of additional auxiliary cones.

Lentulo Spirals :  They are used for coating sealer on root canal walls.

Next on the list is instruments for making a denture/prosthodontics instruments.

1) Macintosh sheet: This is a rubbery material, which is very rigid and is used to keep the surroundings clean from the work done.

2) Plaster Spatula: This is a broad bladed spatula which is used to mix the Plaster of Paris in an efficient way. There re 2 types of these spatulas: 1) Straight

Curved Spatula: This is similar to the straight spatula but the only difference is that it has a slightly curved blade which helps in mixing the contents of the bowl by pressing against the walls of the bowl.

3) Plaster Knife: This is an instrument which is used to handle the plaster of paris and apply it in a way which is needed.

4) Rubber Bowl: This is a bowl made out of rubber which is elastic to some extent and help in easy and good mixing of the plaster of paris and also an Alginate(Impression material) .

5) Cement Spatula: This is a clinical instrument which we use in our daily practice,It has a wide bladed face and a long handle so that there is a big surface area to mix the liquid and the powder of the cement to get an appropriate mix. And apply them into the prepared cavities to get the tooth structure back to its original state.

6) Agate Spatula: This is also used to mix dental cement but it is made out of plastic, as there are cements which react with the metal of the steel spatula, mainly this spatula is used to mix GIC ( glass ionomer cement)

7) Glass Slab: It is used to mix the constituents of the cement together in a proper way and to get a flat surface to mix on, So it is used as a platform to mix the cements.

8 ) Lacron Carver: It is an instrument which has a blade on one side and a scoop like thing on the other side of it. It is an instrument used in Dental anatomy practicals where we have to carve teeth out of the wax blocks.

9 ) Stainless Steel Scale

10) Impression Trays

The impression trays serve as a carrier for the material used in creating the mold of teeth and adjacent structures. There are several types depending on the size and shape of the jaw of the patient.

The Impression Trays are of 2 main types:

1) Dentulous: These are trays which are used to take impressions of people with teeth or of a dentulous mouth.

2) Edentulous: These are trays which are used to take impressions in an edentulous mouth or a patient without teeth.

The are again divided into two types, based on the presence of perforations in it:

1) Perforated: There are small perforations or holes in the tray.

2) Non-Perforated: There are no perforations in the trays as they are used to carry impression materials which are not rigid Ex. Alginate.

1 thought on “Understanding Dental Instruments ( Part 2 )

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