How to Extend the Lifespan of Sintered Diamond Burs

Diamond burs are used in dental hard tissue re-contouring, tooth preparations, crown and bridge fabrication, caries excavation, coronoplasty, removal of old restorative material and finishing restorations. They are available in a huge range of shapes and sizes with a wide variety of cutting heads (e.g. carbide, ceramic, glass fibre & diamond). They are usually supplied on a friction grip shank, however some have a long straight HP shank for use with high speed handpieces.

While new techniques such as lasers, air abrasion and chemo-mechanical preparation are being advocated for the removal of dental hard tissue during tooth preparation it is still important that the dentist has access to traditional dental tools such as diamond burs. Diamond burs are the most popular rotary instruments for the removal of hard tissues during dentistry. They are supplied in a multitude of different shapes and sizes with a wide variety of grits ranging from ultra-fine to super coarse.

Diamond is the hardest material on Earth and when used in a grinding motion it can remove the enamel layer of the tooth with very little force. However, this can also result in the clogging of the bur and a short lifespan as the head wears rapidly from the abrasion. To counter this issue there are a number of methods that can be used to increase the lifetime of a diamond bur, but these can be expensive and time consuming.

One method to extend the life of a diamond bur is through the application of an intermediate coating. This coating can help to reduce the amount of friction between the diamond head and the tooth surface while increasing the wear resistance of the tool. However, this can have a negative impact on the bond strength of the adhesive cements as they must penetrate the interface between the tooth and the coating to hold the restoration in place.

Another method to extend the life of a diamond rotary instrument is through regular cleaning. This can be done by using a special diamond abrasive. However, this can be a time consuming process as it is important to ensure the correct abrasive is being used and that the diamond head is not being damaged by the inappropriate abrasive.

A third method to extend the lifetime of a diamond bur is by changing it after a limited number of teeth preparations. This is because the number of times a diamond bur is used can have a significant effect on its surface roughness and hence its cutting efficiency. This was proven in a recent study where the results of stereomicroscope images and depth maps presented to groups of patients showed that as the number of preparations increased the roughness of the tooth surfaces decreased and grooves and ridges became smoother. This suggests that changing a diamond bur after five teeth preparations can have a positive impact on the quality of the final restoration. sintered diamond burs