Settings Tools & Equipment Needed for Dental Assistant

Dental assistants use a variety of tools.

Dental assistants assist dentists in a variety of dental procedures, including fillings, root canals, exams, cleanings and oral surgery. Dental assistants must utilize a variety of tools to adequately carry out their job duties. Though many of these tools have odd-sounding names, each of them are instrumental to a successful dental procedure.

1 Air-Water Syringe

An air-water syringe is a metal device that is hooked up to both an air and water supply. The device has a long, thin tube in which the air and water are expelled. Two buttons are located on the air-water syringe; one button is for air and the other is for water. The dental assistant will commonly use the air button when trying to keep the field of view clear for the dentist. Debris and saliva will frequently make the area difficult to see, thereby making this tool a necessity. The dental assistant will utilize the water button when the area of the jaw that is being worked on needs to be rinsed off. This commonly occurs when filling a cavity or sealing a tooth.

2 Saliva Ejector

The saliva ejector, which is often called a spit suction device, is a tool that is commonly used by dental assistants during most dental procedures. This instrument is usually white in color and has a handle attached to a flexible tube. The tube is attached to a suctioning device, which allows the dental assistant to use the saliva ejector to remove saliva from the mouth. This is important because patients are unable to swallow during most dental procedures, forcing saliva to accumulate in the mouth. Excess saliva can make it difficult or impossible for the dentist to do her work, which is why the saliva ejector is such an important piece of equipment.

3 High Volume Evacuator

The high volume evacuator is frequently used by dental assistants during oral surgery, root canals and fillings. This tool is similar in nature to the saliva ejector, though the tube is much wider. The diameter of the high volume evacuator can be as wide as 1/3 inch. This tool is used to remove any debris that may be in the mouth, such as tooth chips or food. If this debris were not removed, the patient could develop an infection or the procedure may not be able to be performed properly. Therefore, it is essential that this tool is used correctly by the dental assistant.

  • 1 "Dental Materials: Clinical Applications for Dental Assistants and Dental Hygienists;" Carol Dixon Hatrick; 2010
  • 2 "Dental Assistant;" Pauline Anderson; 2001

Leigh Wittman has been writing professionally since 2007. She writes primarily on health, career advice, outdoor pursuits and travel for various websites. Wittman is a licensed nurse and studied nursing at Arizona State University.