Dental Supplies Key Terms

You'll be enamored with these terms associated with dental supplies

Every medical office, including a dentist office, is full of supplies that may seem baffling to a layperson. However, each of these supplies plays an important role in diagnosing and treating a patient.

Whether you are a dentist or a patient, understanding the terms used in association with these supplies is vital. As a dentist, complete knowledge of the supplies makes it easier for you to explain procedures to patients. For patients, knowing these terms makes it easier to communicate with the dentist, and in some cases, this knowledge may prevent unintentional errors.


A dental bur, in layman's terms, is the bit at the end of the dental drill. Dentists use these to hollow out cavities and check for other imperfections in the teeth by removing layers of the tooth in certain areas. These are available in a varied selection of sizes and styles to meet almost any purpose.

Impression tray

An impression tray is a way for a dentist to get a mold of a patient's teeth. These are used for making retainers, dentures and other dental devices.


A laminate is a plastic mouthpiece that is used as a retainer, bleaching tray or other dental device. Mouth guards, for example, can be used to stop damage to teeth caused by bruxism.


An autoclave is an instrument used to sanitize reusable dental equipment. It uses a combination of steam and pressure to sanitize the equipment.

Nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is a supply that is found in most dental offices. Dentists use it to relax patients. It is also a mild desensitizer.

Intra-oral camera

An intra-oral camera is a small camera that is used to explore the mouth. It is attached to a small screen so the patient can see what the dentist sees, which makes explaining procedures and diagnosis easier.

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