The Basic Dental Tools May 23rd, 2018 We all know that people can consider a visit to the dentist rather daunting. But, we also know that it shouldn’t be the case. Dentists are carefully trained for many years to provide a vital service for the health of all Australians. We want to provide the highest level of care so that people will look forward to a dental check-up. They’ll be excited about that lovely clean feeling that only comes from a dentist’s clean—as well as the reassurance of knowing their oral health is in good nick. For many, it is just the dental equipment itself that causes the concern. After all, that gallery of devices can certainly look intimidating. But, like a lot of anxiety, it is borne purely from fear of the unknown. So, we want to reiterate the importance of knowing a patient’s concerns, and how we can make them feel at ease. To do this, we’ve broken down some of the most common pieces of dental equipment to their absolute basics. As the trained professional, these descriptions are obviously not for you—but rather for your patients. Sometimes, as dental professionals, we can get caught up in the technical side of things, and forget that we’re dealing with people who may have no idea what an instrument is, or how it is used. If we can bring these tools back to their basic, fundamental purpose, then that should alleviate patients’ concerns—and the next time they seem nervous you will be able to reassure them. Mouth Mirror: This is the least intimidating of the basic dental equipment family. It is primarily to help a dentist see the work being done, but also to retract the tongue and cheeks. Without it, a dentist would be flying blind in some ways, so the patient should be glad it’s there. Probes: There are three main types of probes, and these are definitely some of the more intimidating instruments. They do pretty much as they are named, and via contact, examine for issues such as cavities and gum pockets. They are critical for finding any problems. Scalers: Probably the most daunting of the tools due to the discomfort they can cause, scalers remove tartar from the surface of the teeth, as well as between the gums. The best thing to inform a patient is that these do the ‘grunt’ work, and are vital for maintaining oral health. Dental Drill: The dental drill is right up there on the most unwanted list, but this is most likely because of its reputation preceding it. It serves a number of purposes, including removing decay and polishing. For many, it is purely the sound that is the real cause for concern here—informing patients that its bark is worse than its bite may help here. As they say, fear comes from the unknown. It’s completely understandable why people are cautious when visiting a dentist. But, perhaps, just taking a little extra time to explain to a patient what each dental tool is used for may alleviate the concern. Caring for our patients is about the whole experience.