Dentistry involves a variety of procedures carried out to maintain oral health and restore or replace damaged teeth. Some of these are:
• Tooth whitening to remove stains
• Bonding to take care of chipped or cracked teeth
• Enamel shaping to modify teeth
• Veneers to cover the front side of the teeth that are worn or stained
• Braces to correct crooked or crowded teeth
To carry out these treatments effectively, the dentist needs quality dental equipment and instruments. These are the tools that help to examine, adjust, restore and extract teeth and treat the area around them. Every dental clinic must maintain an essential inventory of dental supplies to ensure that the patient can be offered quality treatment. These can be:
• Anaesthetics and drugs
• Instruments like hand pieces, burs and abrasives, acrylic trimmers
• Impression materials, cements and liners
• Cleaning and infection control products
• Restoration materials
• Dental equipment related to surgery
• Disposable bibs and gloves
• Endodontics materials
Prosthetic dentistry deals with the restoration or replacement of teeth. As a specialist area it focuses on recreating teeth that are missing or severely damaged using precision dental equipment.
This involves procedures related to fixing the following:
• Fillings to treat cavities
• Crowns to cover teeth fully and restore their function
• Bridges to replace missing tooth or teeth
• Dentures that replace a missing tooth or a complete arch
• Implants to replace one or more missing teeth
Dentists usually try and prevent the loss of teeth by maintaining the oral structure to promote oral health. For example, if a crown is required, besides treating the damaged tooth, its appearance is also taken care of with a variety of non-metal options ranging from acrylic, composite, ceramic and porcelain.
The most common materials for dental crowns used to be porcelain or gold. Gold was invariably used for teeth at the back of the mouth while porcelain was used on the front teeth for its aesthetics and similarity to a natural tooth.
Today a number of alternate materials are available. These can not only withstand more stress without wearing out the other teeth but also look natural. At the time of fixing the crown, the dentist must be careful while working with acrylic as it is a clear material.
A material of choice in dentistry
Acrylic is very popular for a variety of reasons and is used for a number of things like making impression trays. It is used as a tooth coloured veneer to cover the surface of the tooth directly or on the crown covering the tooth to be restored. After the tooth is ready for the crown, a temporary crown made of acrylic is often used before the permanent crown is fixed. Using an acrylic trimmer, the crown is shaped carefully and used until it is ready to be replaced with the permanent crown.
Acrylic trimmers come in different shapes and sizes and are used for cutting and trimming various dental materials. They are generally pear shaped and used with a dental hand piece for grinding down acrylic bases or managing the thickness of the denture from the outside. The most popular ones are tungsten carbide acrylic trimmers.
With good quality dental equipment, supplies, instruments and medicaments, dentists help maintain oral health.