Diamond burrs are a great tool to have in any dental professional’s arsenal. They are useful for a wide variety of procedures such as extracoronal preparation, crown removal and fitting, chamfering, and more. Diamond burs are often considered more effective than carbide in certain situations and they offer better durability, however both types of burs have their own unique advantages to them.
Unlike carbide burs, which are made of metal and have tiny blades that slice away the tooth structure, diamond burrs use small bits of industrial grade diamond to cut through the hardened enamel of teeth, leaving a smooth surface behind. They are more versatile than carbide burs and work on a wider variety of surfaces. Diamond burs can be used in a Dremel, flex shaft or drill and are most often used on softer materials such as porcelain, ceramic, glass, stone and some softer metals including gold and silver.
They can also be used on harder materials such as acrylic, resin and some alloys of metal. Because they do not require the high temperatures that carbido-vanadium or cobalt burs need to operate, they are more precise and can be operated at lower speeds. Additionally, they are less likely to chip or fracture than other burs and they can be cleaned up easier with a slurry.
Like other rotary tools, diamond burrs are available in a range of shank types and head shapes. Some are slender with a short neck, others are broader with a long shaft and others have a flat end point for working in tight spaces. Some have a friction grip on the shaft that is designed to be held firmly in place during use while others have a hex drive or a collet connection that fits in the handpiece’s power tip.
A variety of grits are available for diamond burrs, with coarser grits being more commonly used for rough cuts in extracoronal preparation and gross tooth reduction. Medium grit diamond burs are popular for general dentistry and they have the same reshaping capabilities as finer grits, but with less cutting action. Fine grit diamond burs are the best choice for removing dentin and preparing tooth surface for enamel bonding and fillings.
Both NTI and BluWhite diamond burs are available in basic grits, from ultra-fine through super-coarse. For maximum durability, it is important to regularly re-shape and clean your diamond burs with the appropriate Diamond Bur Re-Shaping Block or Diamond Pacific Nova Sanding points as needed, while keeping them lubricated with water or 412 Slick Lube (diamond tool lubricant). This will help expose new diamond layers, keep your burs sharper and longer and ensure your patients are receiving the best possible care during dental treatments.