Tools of the trade: NSK Phatelus Light Probe


by Dr Michael May, Dentists on Starkey, Forestville, NSW

This probe is used for trans-illumination of teeth. NSK has manufactured them for at least 25 years. It wasn’t available in Australia for a period of time, but now they’re freely available. I’ve been using them for the past 20 years.


What’s good about it

It’s great for locating cracks in teeth. It also shows up occlusal and interproximal caries that are not visible to the naked eye.

The optimal position for this probe is to place it at right angles to the buccal or lingual surfaces of the tooth to view occlusal or interproximal decay, and on the incisal edge or cup tips to view cracks in teeth. The handpiece contains a fine fibre optic bundle that transmits the light into the mouth and allows precise positioning of the beam. When using this tool, I like the overhead light to be turned off and a dark environment in the mouth. We have a number of these probes at our practice and I use it for every examination. It’s an invaluable tool and I wouldn’t practise dentistry without it. It’s that good.


What’s not so good

Like all dental handpieces, if you drop them, they break, so they need to be handled carefully. They are autoclavable but that certainly shortens their life expectancy. The light source is in the coupling and the globes need to be in good condition. If the globe is fading even a little bit then the light tip is not going to be as effective. NSK do offer LED couplings now.

It would be great to see a NSK, stand alone, rechargeable coupling, similar to our curing light. That would save tying up a highspeed handpiece line with the probe.


Where did you get it

Gunz Dental.


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