Like a writer with a pen or a painter with a paintbrush, your dentist has certain tools that help keep your mouth happy and healthy. Filled with these special tools, dental offices can be somewhat intimidating, especially when many of those special tools have sharp points at the end.
But there’s no need to be afraid of these common dental tools. Many of these points won’t touch sensitive areas and most will only make your mouth feel better after leaving the office. Below are 4 four tools that might have made you run for the hills — before you learned about their purpose, that is.
Probes: Metal hooks the dentist uses to check for cavities and other problems in the teeth and gums. Also known as an “explorer,” the probe measures the depth of pockets in the gums to check for gum disease. A dentist also may use a probe to scrape the gums. This helps prevent periodontal (gum) disease from spreading.
Saliva ejector: It’s a curved tube, which removes saliva from a patient’s mouth by sucking it out. Patients often have saliva collect in their mouths because they’re forced to keep them open for long periods of time during procedures. Dentists also use cotton to remove excess saliva.
Dental drill: It’s used to fill cavities and smooth out or polish patients’ teeth. Alone, this tool can cause minor pain, but the drill is generally used in combination with a numbing agent or anesthesia. Once you have the anesthesia — no pain!
X-ray equipment: The X-ray is an important tool for dentists who want to detect problems in teeth or gums that aren’t readily visible in a typical examination. X-rays can detect tooth decay long before it becomes visible to the human eye.
Your dentist will use the latest tools available to make sure you have quality dental care. If you’re still afraid of going to the dentist, consider these tips to make your dental visit a relaxing one.