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Coolant and dentists

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  • Coolant and dentists

    I had an interesting conversation with my dentist today. At one point I asked him if he had ever used the old belt-drive dental drills (since I have seen these for sale in antique malls, I was curious). He replied "Never in a mouth, they're dangerous". Well, I assumed he was referring to the belt drive (usually a spring belt) but then he explained "it only takes 8* temperature rise to kill a tooth. There's no coolant with the old drills."

    Now this is a tenuous connection to machining but I thought it was interesting to consider that:
    1. Even a small output machining device can put enough heat into the work to damage it.
    2. The air, water spray, and dribbling water from current dental handpieces is enough to make a critical difference. (I always wondered why the drills etc. made my mouth cold)

    We're not likely to be doing such critical work, but it never hurts to know about extreme situations... maybe if working with ivory, for example. This was just interesting to me and I thought I would share.

  • #2
    Eight degrees to kill a tooth? What's with that guy? My toothies are still solid and healthy. I have a mouthful of filings made with silver amalgam (yes!) done a long time ago (I'm 65 now) and drilled with the old belt drive system, sans coolant. Gimme a break.
    Cheers,

    Frank Ford
    HomeShopTech

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    • #3
      I'm pretty sure that my morning coffee is at least 300 degrees warmer than the inside of my mouth. The first sip is anyways.

      Hasn't killed a tooth yet, and so far the blisters have healed regularly too.


      mmmmm..... cooffffeeeeeee......

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Frank Ford
        Eight degrees to kill a tooth? What's with that guy? My toothies are still solid and healthy. I have a mouthful of filings made with silver amalgam (yes!) done a long time ago (I'm 65 now) and drilled with the old belt drive system, sans coolant. Gimme a break.
        How long has it been since those teeth waved a hand, jumped up and down, moved around or showed that they ARE still alive and kicking?
        .
        "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Frank Ford
          Eight degrees to kill a tooth? What's with that guy? My toothies are still solid and healthy. I have a mouthful of filings made with silver amalgam (yes!) done a long time ago (I'm 65 now) and drilled with the old belt drive system, sans coolant. Gimme a break.
          I suspect he's talking about what can happen after passing through the enamel
          and getting to the stuff inside. But it's only a guess.

          Those new-fangled ultrasonic scalers are what gets to me. I think I now know what water-boarding must feel like. When I had my teeth cleaned the other day I mentioned it to the hygienist so she just went with the old reliable hand scraper. She must have known what she was doing as it wasn't all that uncomfortable.

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          • #6
            He might be closer to correct, although obviously 8 deg is low......

            My dentist, who is generally great, is heavy-handed with the drill when doing a filling. I generally have a sensitive tooth for way too long after he has been at work..... so I try to keep him unemployed as far as drilling is concerned.
            1601

            Keep eye on ball.
            Hashim Khan

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            • #7
              Originally posted by J Tiers
              He might be closer to correct, although obviously 8 deg is low......

              My dentist, who is generally great, is heavy-handed with the drill when doing a filling. I generally have a sensitive tooth for way too long after he has been at work..... so I try to keep him unemployed as far as drilling is concerned.
              Get a new dentist.
              Paul A.
              SE Texas

              Make it fit.
              You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Paul Alciatore
                Get a new dentist.

                Not one chance of that.

                He put on a couple crowns and there was not a speck of trouble, although that is a LOT more work on the tooth. An prior filings had no such issues, this one was down the side of the tooth.

                No, he gets a "pass" on the filling, it may not have been all his fault anyway.
                1601

                Keep eye on ball.
                Hashim Khan

                Comment


                • #9
                  Eight degrees! I think not. Our high speed hand-pieces turn in excess of 600,000 RPM where as our slow speed hand-pieces turn around 38,000 RPM. Burs used in high-speed hand-pieces, being fabricated of carbide, generate a great deal of heat, and so much so that should the bur dull during tooth preparation (which often happens) fire can be seen deep in the cavity preparation if coolant is not used. Smell, often associated with burning hair or flesh, is the result of heat generated by the bur as organic matter is being "cooked" by a heated bur. Obviously, water coolant significantly reduces heat making the cutting process kinder to tooth structure.

                  Even with amelogenesis imperfecta, (a condition often leaving the surfaces of teeth void of enamel with dentin directly exposed to the environment), teeth do not die when hot foods and liquids are ingested. Similarly, cold can be a serious stimulus but teeth are designed to handle that extreme as well. They are marvelous little "tools" capable of surviving great punishment. Even if a tooth is "fired up" in the absence of coolant, the tooth will likely survive albeit thermally sensitive for 6 to 8 weeks.

                  The greatest danger of "killing teeth" resides with rubber-cup cleanings by untrained "assistants". This is the reason that most states in the US require licensed hygienist to perform cleanings ..... not dental assistants. Even at low speeds, rubber cups prophys produce very high temperatures over a far greater surface area making death to teeth via cleanings more likely.

                  For informational purposes, as surface area involvement increases, so does the likelihood of thermal sensitivity. Crown preparations can be used as a good example of great surface area involvement leading to sensitivity and even death of a tooth. Depth too can lend a twist to thermal sensitivity. Individuality also plays a part. Not all teeth are created equally. Some individuals feel NO PAIN when threated without anesthesia whereas others may experience *PAIN*.

                  Just my two cents.

                  Harold
                  For those having fought for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.
                  Freedom is only one generation away from extinction.

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                  • #10
                    And Hwingo sets it all straight --- thats what I like about this site, you never know what your going to learn 600,000 rpm's is allot of reps, now if you couple that with 850 ft.pounds of torque you really got something...

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                    • #11
                      On a side note, the next time you are at the dentist ask them to save you the carbide burrs. Just because they are too dull for dental work doesn't mean they are too dull for engraving and other small jobs. They are usually just tossed and most dentists will save them for you, with perhaps the exception of Harold who I bet saves them for himself.
                      Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                      • #12
                        Yellow box?

                        Aren't used burrs supposed to be disposed of as for "sharps" and anything blood-stained or with body parts or fluids in or on them? ie into the "Yellow" hazardous wastes bin/box/bottle etc. and then destroyed in a super hot furnace?

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                        • #13
                          A quick soak in anhydrous ethanol will kill everything, even prions.
                          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                          • #14
                            The temperature increase kills the root of the tooth, not the enamel.

                            Ultrasonic scalers can do the same thing, if the user is not skilled. If you work on one tooth too long, it can heat the tooth and damage it.

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                            • #15
                              Fwiw..

                              I myself wondered about the 8 degrees that my dentist mentioned. But, his mouth wasn't full of hardware while mine was. So, I couldn't have a full discussion on this topic...

                              In any case I thought this was an example of 1. the heat generation that can be caused by a fairly simple tool and 2. an interesting example of how this heat can be dealt with (the water spray mentioned earlier)

                              FWIW, I have most procedures done without novocaine since I find that the pain of a bitten cheek is more aggravating than the pain of a drilled tooth. So, I notice when things get warm. It doesn't take much heat for me to feel it...

                              My dentist generally uses the latest non-mechanical decay removal techniques, though, so this is not as masochistic as it might seem.

                              Lastly, he did refer to Bill Cosby's dentist visit skit and the 'smoke was coming out of my mouth' lines, so I tend to think he is not just a theorist....

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