Conventional supplies or implements for use in dental care include mirrors, lamps, compressed air jets, and water jets or hydrants. Dental mirrors are typically small, round mirrors attached at an angle to the end of an elongated rod-like handle. The angle of the mirror with the handle may typically be in the range of 20 to 60 degrees relative to the longitudinal axis of the elongated handle. Such placement facilitates the dentist or assistant’s observation of a patient’s upper teeth while standing or seated in an erect position, thus minimizing possible discomfort and awkward viewing angles.
Compressed air and water jets are each typically provided as separate implements because they are supplied from different reservoirs, the compressed air from an air compressor and storage tank for example, and the water from a water pump and storage tank. Both air and water supplies are fed via a hose connected to the respective storage tank, and a hand held control handle or foot-operated control. Illumination of a patient’s mouth is provided by a specialized overhead lamp fixture attached to a gimble assembly supported by a counterbalanced and articulated arm that may be positioned at will by the dentist or dental assistant. The dental equipment uk may be equipped with a lens to minimize scattered light and to focus the light on the work area of interest.
There are a number of disadvantages to this configuration of the dental supplies, both to the dentist and the patient. In many cases an assistant is required to hold and manipulate one or more of the dental implements while the dentist is at work performing dental treatment of or repair to a patient’s teeth. In civilian or military field treatment with autoclave sterilizer, outside a dentist’s office, handling the necessary implements can be even more awkward and cumbersome because they cannot easily support or hold except by the dental personnel themselves. For example, the dentist may need to manipulate simultaneously a drilling apparatus and a mirror, while an assistant manipulates a stream of water or air at the dentist’s instruction. Illumination from a suspended lamp may provide the necessary light.
However, to ensure maximum light upon the work area often requires that the hands and implements in use be positioned so as not to create shadows in the area of interest. Such positioning may require awkward, uncomfortable, or less than optimum orientation of the other implements to avoid blocking the light. Further, up to four hands may be in close, possibly interfering positions in order to properly manipulate the implements for a particular operation, resulting in compromised positioning, making the performance of the operation less efficient and more cumbersome, thus prolonging the time to perform the operation and increased discomfort to the patient.