field of dentistry requires the mastery and use of many different
types of tools. Handheld tools like probes, picks, and mirrors allow
dentists to examine their patients’ teeth from all angles. However,
restoration isn’t possible without one of the most important tools
in a dentists’ kit: the carbide burr.
What is a Burr?
A burr is an interchangeable metal bit that is designed to be used with a drill-like handpiece. They can be made from different materials, such as diamond or steel. Carbide burrs are made of tungsten carbide, which is an extremely hard, heat-resistant metal. Their main function is clearing cavities to prepare them for fillings. They can also be used for polishing, finishing, excavating old fillings, or removing impacted teeth.
Types of Burr Shapes
come in many shapes, each one designed for a unique dental function.
Pear burrs have a pear-like shape, which are commonly used for
clearing cavities. Round burs have a ball-like tip, also used for
clearing cavities. Tapered burrs are used in instances that require
precise cutting, like reducing the height of crowns and fillings or
Carbide is known to be less coarse than a diamond burr. It is also more affordable than diamond, making it a popular staple among professional dentists. Not only does a good dentist need the right tools, he also needs those tools to last. Therefore, the most important feature of carbide is its durability. Tungsten carbide is more than twice the hardness of steel. It can also withstand the high temperatures that can arise from friction or the handpiece motor. With this in mind, people can expect their carbide burrs to last through multiple years without wear. Many dentists disagree on which burr type is best, but most end up using a combination of carbide and diamond burrs.