Dental burs are rotary cutting instruments that remove hard tissue during procedures in the oral cavity. They come in a huge array of shapes, sizes and materials to suit different situations. This bewildering choice makes choosing a suitable bur for your particular job difficult. There are also a number of shank styles available to fit handpieces of differing speeds.

Sintered diamond burs have a shaped head of graded abrasive embedded in a metal matrix to give consistent performance over a long life. They have excellent grinding efficiency with low vibration and temperature build up, and can carve softer material such as zirconia, metal alloys and some stones. They are particularly well suited for carving of ceramics, trimming porcelain sprues and shaping chrome cobalt. Fine (red), medium (yellow) and coarse (green) diamond grit sizes are available.

The abrasive in a sintered diamond bur is formed from multiple layers of quality grit in a strong durable binder. When used correctly they last ten times longer than electroplated diamond burs. They are a gem carver’s priority investment. They can be used in most metal and glass, soft stone and some hard woods. To extend their life and enhance their performance lubricate them before and during use with an aluminium oxide stick or our 412 Slick Lube diamond tool lubricant.

Within the limitations of this in vitro study it was found that when used for tooth preparation, diamond burs have a reduced surface roughness over time and a reduction in cutting efficiency. These findings corroborated by stereomicroscopy.

It is recommended that sintered diamond burs are changed after every five cavities to reduce wear. They should also be reshaped by using a Diamond Re-Shaping Block to expose new sharpened diamond grit. The frequency of this procedure is dependent on the size of the shaped head and the material being cut, but it is a worthwhile investment in the longevity of your valuable gem carving tools.

While the results of this in vitro study are useful, it should be noted that the sample zirconia and metal alloys used in this investigation had one specific brand and type of machinability and these may show differing results in a subsequent test. It is also important to note that this in vitro study only tested a single set of diamond burs. The use of a more varied and mixed selection of dental burs would be necessary to evaluate differences in machining outcomes. Regardless of the results of this study, it is clear that diamond burs require regular maintenance and attention to detail in order to maximize their performance. This is especially true when they are used on zirconia and metal alloys as these materials have the highest machinability of all dental materials.