Dental burs--what bur for which application?

Dental burs--what bur for which application? A survey of dental schools.


Department of Restorative Dentistry, School of Dentistry, University of Maryland, Baltimore 21201, USA.



The purpose of this study was to survey North American dental schools regarding recommendations for rotary instrumentation for fixed prosthodontic and operative procedures at the predoctoral and postgraduate level.


A 25-question survey was sent to 64 North American dental schools, of which 15 questions specifically related to rotary instrument recommendations. One questionnaire was addressed to the individual at each school having administrative responsibility for teaching tooth preparation techniques. A high response rate was assured by follow-up telephone calls and faxes. The distributions of bur recommendations for both predoctoral and advanced prosthodontic programs were analyzed by chi-squared tests at an a priori alpha = 0.05.


Completed surveys were received from 58 of 64 dental schools, a response rate > 90%. Medium grit burs predominate in predoctoral education for gross tooth reduction for fixed prosthodontics, whereas coarse grit burs predominate at the graduate level (p < .05). The use of the diamond bur alone predominates for axial wall refinement, whereas the use of carbide burs or carbide burs in combination with diamond burs prevails for marginal refinement (p < .05). In predoctoral operative dentistry, recommendations for cavity outline form were similar at all dental schools (p > .05) and were principally tungsten carbide (WC) burs. Carbide burs are the instrument of choice for internal walls, but the WC bur alone or in combination with diamond burs is preferred for refining composite margins (p < .05).


There is a broad consensus within North American dental schools on rotary instrumentation used by dental students. There is a greater use of coarser grit burs for gross tooth reduction in fixed prosthodontics at the postgraduate than predoctoral level.