When you go to the dentist, it can seem like they’re using strange sci-fi tech to take care of your teeth. There may be strange products used to clean or weird looking equipment you’re not sure about. Here are a couple things dentists use to keep their patients’ teeth bright and healthy.
Fluoride is a natural mineral and crucial in helping prevent tooth decay. It’s often added to the water supply and other food products as a way to help the general population protect their teeth. However, the fluoride added to such products is limited and minor. Dentists have gels and varnishes with much higher levels of fluoride with much greater concentrations than anything the average person could buy on their own. Used correctly, they go a great way to prevent decay.
Sealants are a lesser known tool of a dental office. It’s most often used for the teeth in the back of the mouth or teeth with particular deep grooves. These indentations in the teeth are in the most danger for plaque buildup, which can lead to cavities. A sealant is applied as a thing plastic coating on the chewing surface of the tooth as an added layer of protection. If applied correctly, they can last for up to a decade.
Let’s talk about the tools that may seem the scariest to kids (and adults) going to the dentists: the metal ones the dental hygienist uses when they examine your mouth.
Mouth Mirror: a small mirror attached to a metal stick, used to look at different angles of the teeth the dentist wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
Sickle Probe: the stick with the hook at the end, used to probe for cavities and scrape tartar out of hard to reach areas.
Scaler: the metal prongs that are more substantial than the sickle probe, used for larger build ups of plaque. While the scraping motion may not be comfortable, it’s one of the best ways to prevent gum disease and save teeth from decay.
Saliva Ejector: a long tube put into the mouth to suck up any excess moisture so the dentist or hygienist can see your teeth properly.
Dental Drill: the scariest of all the dental tools, the drill is used to get rid of tooth decay before filling a cavity. While it looks and sounds intimidating, a local anesthetic will keep any pain away, leaving only a mild vibration.
Dental Needle: a long needle used to administer local anesthetic into the gums. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but once it’s done its job, you shouldn’t feel anything.
All the tools a dentist uses are for the sake of a patient’s health. And if you’re ever curious about what your dentist or dental hygienist is going to use that tool in their hand for, you can always ask. They’re the ones who know the tools best.