Carbides and Diamonds
Carbides and Diamonds CATEGORY DESCRIPTION
The most commonly used dental burs are carbides and diamonds.
Made of tungsten carbide, a metal that is extremely hard and stiff, carbide burs most commonly are used for excavating and preparing cavities; finishing cavity walls, restoration surfaces, and crown preparations; drilling old fillings; contouring bone; removing impacted teeth; and separating crowns and bridges. Carbide burs can be used many times without becoming dull but may be sharpened when necessary. Carbide burs leave a smoother surface in comparison to diamond burs. They are available in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Diamond burs are used for precise drilling and finishing. Diamond burs produce cleaner cuts and a higher polish than carbide burs. The diamond bur’s grit determines the speed and type of polish. Diamond burs with finer grits achieve a higher polish and finish while coarser grits are suited for heavy material removal.
Diamond burs will safely accomplish complete removal of enamel, existing restorative materials, and caries with little chance of enamel fracture during restorative procedures. However, while cutting through porcelain is best accomplished with diamond burs, they are slower to cut enamel and metal-based restorations or sectioning cast metal copings or crowns. Diamond surfaces can also fill with debris and clog, wear smooth, and cause burnishing and overheating. Carbide burs are therefore more often used to accomplish these tasks easily. Carbide burs should be used to trim and finish macro-filled composites and hybrid composites.
Carbides and diamonds also produce different outcomes: Carbide burs slice or chip away at material, leaving the tooth surface smooth and more esthetically pleasing. Diamond burs grind away at material, leaving a rough tooth surface that ultimately requires more polishing.
Diamond burs are either single- or multi-use. Single-use diamond burs provide the convenience of new sharp instruments in pre-sterilized individual packages, providing better infection control and saving time by eliminating cleaning and sterilization procedures. These cost-effective measures ultimately result in reduced chair time. Some professionals maintain that disposable burs are therefore more economical because of less time spent in prep and sterilization procedures.
There is a wide assortment of shapes, sizes, and grits available in multi-use diamonds.
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