How many different types of dental burs are there? That is a difficult question to answer because burs are made up of hundreds of varieties which are constantly increasing in quantity each year.
Many times, due to simple lack of knowledge or research, both the most advanced dental professionals and beginners may miss out on models that would significantly facilitate their dental clinic and laboratory work.
At Dentaltix, we understand the confusion that may arise when purchasing such products online, which is why we have created a category of dental burs to help you choose the one that best suits your needs without losing yourself in doubt.
In the 80's, the main international dental institutions decided to unify burs under a common nomenclature and a universal classification, such that they are now included in the ADA specifications nº.23 and ISO standards.Here we tell you all about the different classifications that exist.
Burrs according to the rotary instrumentationThe first and simplest classification is according to the type of rotary instrument with which the bur is to be used.
Burrs for TURBINE (High Rotation) or FG (Friction Grip):
These are the smaller ones and are for use with high speed dental turbines. They have a shank diameter of 1.6mm and a free end. The shank length is defined by these ISOs, always starting with 3XX (the final length may vary depending on the type and shape of the actual cut).
On our website, we have a wide selection of both diamond and tungsten ones.
Burrs for CONTRA ANGLE (CA) o RA (Right Angle):
Intermediate size for use with low/medium speed dental contra-angle handpieces. With a handle diameter of 2.35mm and a notch at the end of the handle that fixes them to the instrument head and easily distinguishes them from the rest.
The length of the handle is defined by these ISO always starting with 2XX (the final length may vary according to the type and cutting method). We also have both diamond and tungsten contra-angle burrs available.
Hand Piece burrs for HAND PIECE or HP (Hand Piece):
These are larger ones for use with handpieces in both the clinic and laboratory, and with a shank diameter of 2.35mm.
The shank length is defined by these ISO starting with 1XX (the final length may vary according to the type and form of cutting). Again, we have a very large selection of laboratory burs where you may find such burs.
Burrs by Material Type
Tungsten carbide burs (ISO 500):
A substitute to the previously all-steel burs, the heads of these burs are made of alloy which improves and reinforces their physical properties. Tungsten carbide burs according to ISO standard are distinguished by the ISO 500 numbering.
This variant provides high quality and precise burs thanks to the incorporation of multiple layers of carbon powder (diamond) in its working part by means of galvanizing techniques. Diamond burs, according to the ISO standard, are distinguished by the ISO 806 numbering.
Burrs according to their shape
This is probably the most defining and unique classification for each type of burr. In the beginning, they were simply called by the name of their silhouette, such as the well-known "spear", "rugby ball" or "inverted cone", among others that we have tried to maintain.
Shapes of the most commonly used dental burs:
- Ball Mill: perfect for caries removal, cavity openings in surgery and for creating orientation grooves in prosthetics.
- Cylindrical burs, right angle head: ideal for providing flat surfaces.
- Cylindrical burs, curved head: suitable for creating occlusal orientation grooves.
- Cylindrical burs, round-headed: suitable for setting, orientation grooves and bevels in prosthetic pre-treatments.
- Cone drill, right angle head: perfect for making steps and defining the end line of prosthetic preparations.
- Inverted Cone Drill: ideal for preparing retentive cavities.
- Flame drill: indicated for wear in the lingual region of incisors and canines.
- Wheel Bit: designed to obtain mechanical retentions and extensive and heavy wear.
- Torpedo Bit: designed to make terminal lines in fixed prostheses.
Following the ISO standardisation norm, among the great majority of brands we find numbered each shape with these numbers:
Main Diamond burrs by shape:
Principal Tungsten carbide burs by shape:
Main tungsten carbide burs by grain size
The same bur, with the same shape, can have different grain thicknesses depending on the treatment requirements. They can be distinguished, in addition to the ISO numbering, by the specific colouring found on the coloured ring on the neck of the bur.
Thus, from coarser to finer grain we find:
You can see an example of the different colors for the same ball dental bur, which is possible to use for the cleaning of caries with its coarsest grit or for the polishing of contours with its finest one.
Burrs according to the maximum diameter of the active part:
This classification specifies the size of the tip or active part of the cutter, so that within the same shape model we can find different sizes.
Taking as an example the ball bur (ISO.001 shape), we may find the smallest ISO.009 size, ideal for detailed work such as cleaning incipient caries points, as well as much larger diameters for use in prostheses or surgery.
After reviewing these standardized regulations we can get a good idea of the way this functions using the typical ball end mill as an example; which today, at the expense of other brands, should actually be named: 806,314,001,524,016.
After considering this guide, we at Dentaltix hope that it will be of great help and make it easier for you to buy dental burs.
We also have a more basic article about types of dental burs, which may also provide you with some help while picking the ideal dental bur.