Category Archives: Orthodontic Instruments

10 Most Common Orthodontic Instruments


Dental students need to know every facet and purpose of orthodontic instruments.

You’ve got to be at the very least a master of your own domain when it comes to your familiarity with every minute detail of function and your own efficient and comfortable confidence with them while performing your procedures. You must master all this before you hit the ground running in your chosen field of orthodontia.

Here’s a swift and thorough explanation of orthodontia’s most common instruments. Bookmark this page and keep it handy. You never know when you’re going to need just a little reminder. We’ve narrowed the most used instruments down to ten. Take a look. And then take your knowledge back to school, and eventually your own practice.

Your No-Muss, No-Fuss
Ortho Instrument Dictionary

1. Dental Mirrors

Allows dentists and dental assistants to view a mirror image of those teeth located so far in the back of the mouth that their visibility is either very difficult or impossible to examine with the naked eye.

2. Periodontal Probes

Usually long, thin and outfitted with a blunted end to relieve patient discomfort—is primarily used to measure pocket depths around the tooth to determine the health of the surrounding specialized tissues that both surround and support the teeth.

3. Cotton Pliers

Resembling tweezers, cotton pliers are used to grasp and retrieve small objects in the mouth and to place cotton when isolating teeth during procedures.

4. Orthodontic Pliers

Designed for grasping auxiliary attachments inside the mouth, orthodontic pliers are outfitted with tips rounded  tips for comfort and safety. They are often serrated for superior grip. They may be angled, curved, offset or straight.

5. Wire Cutter/Pin and Ligature Cutters

Comprised of two tapered beaks rounded out by sharp cutting-ends, the wire cutter/pin and ligature cutter is used to cut stainless steel ligatures  tied to the arch wire. The arch wire conforms to the mouth’s natural dental arch and can be used with dental braces to correct irregularities in the position of the teeth.

6. Distal End Cutters

Comprised of two cutting surfaces angled to the right of the instrument’s axis, distal end cutters are used to slice through and remove the terminal end of a ligated arch wire.

7. Bite Sticks

Orthodontists use this device to apply your normal bands and to seat molar bands.The orthodontist puts the band in place and has the patient bite down on the stick to help push the band in place.

8. Posterior Band Removers

A specialized plier orthodontists use to remove bands from your teeth.

9. Cheek Retractors

These small plastic pieces are used to draw back your lips and cheeks so the orthodontist can access your mouth and better see your teeth while they are working.

10. Band Removers

A specialized plier orthodontists use to remove bands from your teeth.


A “grill” Retainer that Plays Music through your Teeth


Okay so the obvious first question I had was, “Does this hurt your teeth and/or brain?” But Parsons The New School for Design student Aisen Chacin assured me that, “No, the player does not hurt; all perceivable waves are in the form of sound. They are not felt as tactile information.” Continue reading A “grill” Retainer that Plays Music through your Teeth


Children and Braces

child braces

It’s a good idea to get an orthodontic evaluation by the time a child is 7 years old. An orthodontist is a dentist with additional training, who specializes in aligning and straightening teeth. The best time for your child to get dental braces depends on the severity and the cause of the misalignment of your child’s teeth. Continue reading Children and Braces


Caring for your Braces

When you wear braces, it’s very important to carefully brush, floss and thoroughly rinse your mouth after you eat anything — or at least four times a day (after you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, and before you go to bed). That’s because braces, wires, bands and even retainers all trap food particles that can cause plaque (say: plak) to build up on your teeth. Continue reading Caring for your Braces


History of Dental Instruments

As far back as 5,000 B.C., according to an ancient Sumerian text that claimed tooth decay was the result of “tooth worms,”tooth wormsdentists have been wielding their implements of torture among the populace

The first dental drill was a foot driven instrument invented by John Greenwood in 1790. Far from the high tech dental drills of today, the first dental drill John Greenwood made was really just a modified version of his mother’s foot treadle spinning wheel. While, a bit unwieldy, it did the trick. In 1957, a dentist named John Borden invented the high speed contra angle hand piece with 30,000 rotations per minute, a monumental step forward in dental drilling and polishing.

In 1790, a prominent American dentist named Josiah Flagg invented the first dentist chair, complete with headrest and tray for keeping track of implements. In 1832, inventor James Snell improved on Greenwood’s invention by making the chair recline, making it easier for a dentist to see in his victim’s (or patient’s) mouth. In 1877, the chair once again made dental headlines when the Wilkerson chair replaced the Snell chair as the predominant chair type used by dentists.

In 1864, Sanford C. Barnum invented the rubber dental dam. It’s purpose is to isolate an individual tooth so the dentist can work with a limited amount of saliva present to slow his work. Cutting off the area of concern from the rest of the mouth makes it easier to work.

In 1895, Wilhelm Roentgen, a German physicist, invented the x-ray machine most often used by dentists. A year later, in 1896 a well known New Orleans dentist, C. Edmond Kells, took the first dental x-ray of a living person in the U.S. The ability to see what was happening under the surface improved the precision that dentists could use when isolating dental problems.

There were a number of types of toothbrushes before the nylon brush came along, but since it did in 1938, the nylon toothbrush has been the standard toothbrush used by dentists and people alike. In 1960, the first electric model toothbrush was introduced to the buying public.




Brush Your Teeth For The Sake of Your Health

keep-calm-and-brush-teeth-5Circular motions, up, down, and don’t forget the back teeth and tongue.  There are many benefits to brushing your teeth and we are taught this from childhood up into adulthood. Oral hygiene is important, got to keep those pearly whites shinning and the breath fresh. However according to a recent study from the University of California, daily brushing is associated with a lower risk of developing dementia and a gang of other potential health risk.

Continue reading Brush Your Teeth For The Sake of Your Health


Fun, Helpful Oral Health Guide

Good dental or oral care is important to maintaining healthy teeth, gums and tongue. Oral problems, including bad breath, dry mouth, canker or cold sores, TMD, tooth decay, or thrush are all treatable with proper dignosis and care.

Follow theses simple steps outlined in the oral health infographic below and enjoy wonderful over all heath.

Continue reading Fun, Helpful Oral Health Guide


The Age of Oral Health

Young or old, it never a good idea to neglect your oral health. The mouth, teeth, and tongue are all important parts of the human body and require proper hygiene. Even though it seems to be common knowledge of the importations of good oral hygiene, there is a prevailing statistic that is uncovering  a startling truth.

A comprehensive study showed study that nearly 72 percent of the 90,555 parents indicated that they believed their children were in good oral health. In 2003, only 67.7 percent of the 96,510 parents studied made that same claim.

Continue reading The Age of Oral Health



Heather and John McDougall, two kids from North Dakota, grew up watching their dentist father throw himself wholeheartedly into his profession, serving on the boards of state and national dental associations. So perhaps it’s no surprise that when the McDougall kids decided to launch a company, it ended up being a toothbrush startup.

Continue reading Bogobrush