These instruments accomplish one and possibly both of the following tasks:
• Carry composite from a dispensing pad or syringe to the tooth.
• Manipulate the composite once it is in or on the tooth.
Even though highly polished stainless steel used to be the most common type of instrument for these tasks, titanium nitride-coated instruments have jumped to the top of the pack. They come in a variety of shapes, are available in very thin profiles, and definitely resist sticking (but don't totally prevent it). The quality of the instrument's polish (except for the anodized aluminum versions) may also play a part in its ability to resist composite sticking to it. We have indicated in each product's commentary the degree of polish.
In addition, the titanium nitride coating appears to be quite durable and scratch-resistant, unless they are placed with other instruments in the ultrasonic cleaner. This means extra care needs to be exercised when cleaning these instruments in an ultrasonic cleaner to preserve their surface finish. They are also autoclavable.
The handles of the instruments can also affect their comfort and cleanability. The trend is toward thicker handles, but you may prefer a more conventional thin handle. We measured the diameters of the instruments to guide you in selecting the ones that you prefer. In addition to the handle's thickness, the texturing to keep it from slipping affect make it more difficult to clean. Similar to handpieces, the newest trend is to create a satin-like finish instead of distinct serrations. We have indicated how each handle is finished in the product's commentaries.
Other than the instruments listed in this section, there are also fine, well-designed, individual metal instruments from many companies that are useful, but may not be specifically marketed for composites. Don't let that stop you from buying one. If a certain shape and size works for you, it doesn't matter what the instrument is called.