The term instrument refers to a tool, device on an implement uses for specific purpose or type of work and is preferred in profession or scientific field as precision items are generally required to perform specific procedure. G.V. Black Classification is first acceptable nomenclature and classification for hand instrument.

Materials used in making the instruments

Hand cutting instruments are generally made up of mainly following items, those are:

  1. Stainless steel
  2. Carbon steel
  3. Some instruments are also made up of mixture of carbide.
  4. Some alloy can also be used to make these instruments, these alloys can be of nickel, cobalt or chromium.


A. According to Sturdevant

1. Cutting Instruments:

  • Excavators
  • Chisels
  • Hatchets

2. Non cutting instruments

  • Mirrors
  • Condenser
  • Probe
  • Explorers

B. According to Charbenau

1. Cutting

  • Hand – Hatchets, Hoe, Chisel, Excavator
  • Rotary – Bur, Stone, Disk

2. Condensing

  • Plugger
  • Hand plugger
  • Mechanical plugger

3. Plastic Instruments

  • Spatula
  • carvers
  • Burnisher
  • Packing instruments

4. Finishing and polishing instruments

  • Orange wood stick
  • Polishing points
  • Finishing strips
  • Finishing bur
  • Mounted brush
  • Rubber cups
  • Disk and wheels

5. Isolation Instruments

  • Clamp
  • Forceps
  • Punch
  • Saliva ejector
  • Cotton roll holder
6. Miscellaneous Instruments
  • Mouth mirror
  • Probe
  • Scissors etc

C. According to Maurzouk

1. Exploring or diagnostic instruments

  • Mouth mirror
  • Probe, Explorer
  • Tweezers
  • Separator
  • Cheek retractor

2. Isolating instruments

  • Cotton roll holder
  • Rubber dam
  • Saliva ejector
  • Suction apparatus

3. Hand cutting instrument

  • Excavators – Spoon excavator, Cleiod, Discoid, Hatchets, Hoe
  • Chisel – Straight chisel, Mono angle chisel, Bi-angle chisel,
  • Modified chisel – Enamel hatchets, Gingival marginal trimmers, Angle former, Wedellstaedt chisel

4. Restorative instrument

  • Mixing instruments– Cement spatula, Agate spatula, Plastic filling instruments, Dy-cal carrier
  • Packing instruments– Amalgam carrier
  • Condensing instruments– Round condenser, parallelogram condenser
  • Burnishing instrument– Ball burnisher, Egg burnisher, Conical burnisher
  • Carving instrument– Hollenback carver , Diamond carver, Wards carver

5. Miscellaneous

  • Matrices and retainer
  • Scissors

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