e. Saliva Ejectors (MOUTHPIECE, SALIVA EJECTOR, DENTAL). Saliva
ejector mouthpieces are made to be attached at one end to the saliva ejector tubing on
the dental unit. The other end rests in the mouth for the evacuation of saliva, blood,
water, or debris during dental procedures.
f. Pulp Tester (TESTER, PULP, DENTAL). A pulp tester (figure 1-12) is a
standard instrument for use in the oral diagnosis service. This instrument is used to
determine the vitality of the tooth being tested by passing a small amount of electrical
current from the pulp tester to the tooth. The amount of current necessary to obtain a
reaction aids the dental office in determining the vitality of pulp. To perform this
procedure, the dental officer will isolate the tooth to be tested with cotton rolls and dry the
tooth with a warm air syringe. He will apply toothpaste or fluoride gel to the tip of the pulp
tester. This paste acts as an electrical conductor and ensures good contact with the
tooth. Next, the dentist applies the tip of the pulp tester to the tooth. The tester will
automatically start at 0 and slowly increase the current until the tester reads 80.
Normally, a vital tooth will respond to the electrical stimulus at some point between 5 and
80. Eighty is the maximum current level on the pulp tester and indicates that the pulp is
nonvital. Because of the plastic covering, the tip of the pulp tester should be disinfected
and not heat sterilized.
Figure 1-12. Pulp tester.
1-10. BASIC DENTAL EXAMINATION SETUP
a. The Setup. The basic dental examination setup (figure 1-13) consists of a
mouth mirror, cotton pliers, explorer, periodontal probe, cotton dispenser with cotton, two-
by-two-inch gauze pads, and a saliva ejector. This equipment is used in almost every
dental treatment procedure. The water and air syringes are frequently used to remove
debris and fluids from tooth surfaces so that they may be examined more accurately. A
good light source is also essential to adequate vision in performing any oral diagnostic