Tag Archives: orthodontics

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.


The Development of Braces

Orthodontic braces were invented in the 1800’s. Prior to then the methods of teeth straightening varied but the desired result was the same- The Perfect smile. In 1819 C.F. Delabarre invented the first wire crib which is the first form of modern Orthodontics. It is a half circle device that is placed directly onto the teeth. In 1843 Dr. Edward Maynard was the first dentist to use elastics to improve the jaw alignment. Then in 1850 E.J. Tucker elaborated on Maynard’s idea and took rubber bands and cut them to fit comfortably into the mouth’ Later in 1864 Dr. SC Barnum invented the rubber dental dam . The dental dam is a latex sheet that keeps other teeth dry while one is being worked on. In 1893 Henry Baker was the first to combine these previous concepts into one orthodontic treatment. Baker devised the method called “Baker anchorage” . The Baker Anchorage combines the wire crib and rubber tubing. It eliminated the need to completely remove numerous teeth to to help correct alignment. Finally in 1894 Eugene S Talbot was the first to incorporate X-Rays into Orthodontics.