The hairs on the back of your neck may likely have stood on end when you read the word ‘dentist’ in the title of this article. The dentist’s surgery is a much-feared zone. Not many people like having a tooth out, or a filling put in. Dentists, however, serve a very important role in society. In the age before dedicated oral doctors, people would be in pain for a great deal of their later lives with abscesses or simply have no teeth at all. Barbers traditionally did dentistry work, and they did it crudely with unsanitary tools.
Speaking of tools, dentists now make use of a range of specialist items that enable them to inspect and treat your beloved teeth safely. Here are some of the most essential pieces of dentistry equipment in use today to give you that perfect smile.
Most of us will be familiar with the dentist’s chair. These reclining bits of medical furniture often have built-in spotlights, magnifying lenses, sinks, and power for drills and other tools. This essential bit of kit for mouth manglers has roots in the 18th Century when American dentist Josiah Flagg first customised a chair for use in mouth examinations. His chair is now stored in the collection of the Kornberg Dental School Museum.
For many of us, the high pitched whine of the dental drill sends waves of fear coursing through our bodies. Modern dental drills vary hugely and are usually powered by compressed air, which is fed down a small pipe and into a small turbine motor. Dental drills are used for cleaning plaque, operating on rotten teeth, and making space for dental prosthetics. Many dental drills have built-in lights and compressed air guns, becoming all-in-one inspection and polishing tools.
You should be grateful for the horror of the dental drill. Before its widespread use, dentists had to use chisels, burs, and files to prepare teeth for fillings, not a great thing to imagine going through, by any means.
Mouths are a little crowded – hopefully with teeth – and dentists would have a hard time actually figuring out what was wrong with a patient’s fangs if they couldn’t see into every corner. Mouth mirrors are usually mounted on stainless steel sticks but actually come in a wide range of different shapes fit for different purposes. Dental supply companies such as Kent Express offer wide ranges of mirrors, and most dentists keep a few less common designs alongside their standard mirrors just in case a peculiar case arises.
Dentistry is undoubtedly a profession in which viral and bacterial control is paramount. All dentists are required to wear extensive Personal Protection Equipment before they tell a patient to ‘say aaah’. Gloves, glasses, scrubs, and hairnets are all used to prevent surgeries from becoming hotbeds of disease. Gone are the days of a barber covered in hair pulling teeth with a pair of rusty pliers. Dentists today do as much as they can to foster a sterile environment.