A dental bur is a piece of equipment used by dentists to drill holes in the teeth of their patients. The dental bur is only part of a larger set up - the dental drill. Basically, the bur is the drill bit that does the actually cutting or drilling action.
There are many kinds of dental burs, and they are actually quite specialized. A dentist will have a whole set of dental burs, each piece having a specific function. While each type of dental bur may have unique properties, they all have the same basic parts. There is the head, the neck, and the shank. It is the shank that is used to connect to the dental drill, while the head is the “blade” which cuts into the teeth.
Dental bur manufacturers adhere to strict standards, taking into consideration factors such as hygiene, the comfort of the patient, and cutting efficiency. Dental burs can be made of tungsten carbide or diamond. Since there is a veritable host of dental bur types, manufacturers have taken on a labeling system using numbers. These numbers make it easier to identify the type of dental bur.
Dentists have the option of purchasing disposable and reusable dental burs. The former is cheaper and has to be thrown away after each use. The advantage of doing this is that the dentist does not have to bother with sterilization. More so, having a new bur to use each time ensures unparalleled sharpness. Reusable dental burs may be better in the long run, though, as they can be used over a long period of time.