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What is a Bur (Burr)?

A dental bur is a type of rotary cutter used in a handpiece. The burs are usually made of diamond grit or tungsten carbide. The three parts to a bur are the head, the neck, and the shank.

The head of the bur contains the blades which remove material. These blades may be positioned at different angles in order to change the property of the bur. More obtuse angles will produce a negative rake angle which increases the strength and longevity of the bur. More acute angles will produce a positive rake angle which has a sharper blade, but which dulls more quickly.

There are various shapes of burs that include round, inverted cone, straight fissure, tapered fissure, and pear-shaped burs. Additional cuts across the blades of tungsten carbide burs were added to increase cutting efficiency these extra cuts are called crosscuts.

Due to the wide array of different burs, numbering systems to categorize burs are used and include a numbering system used by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).

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