Dental Bur Types for Diamond & Carbide Burs

The three main types of shanks are Friction Grip (FG), Right Angle (RA) (also known as Latch-Type), and Handpiece (HP). Each fits specific handpiece types. 

Friction Grip (FG) Standard Length


  • For use in high speed handpieces and friction grip low speed contra angle heads.
  • Has the smallest diameter shank of all the types of carbide burs; the end of the shank is smooth and is held in place in the handpiece by friction against a chuck.
  • This is the most common bur used in dental surgeries.



  • For use in latch-type contra angle heads in low speed handpieces.
  • Has a notch on the end that allows a hook to latch onto it in the head of the handpiece.
  • Provides greater control when cutting dentin or enamel.



  • Used in straight attachments/nose cones.
  • Has a large, long shank.
  • Used primarily in dental laboratories and to make adjustments to material outside the mouth.


Types of Carbide Bur Shapes

The cutting end of the bur is named by its shape. There are a variety of shapes available, each suited to a particular task.

Some of the most popular are round, pear, inverted cone, straight fissure, and tapered fissure. Different flute angles also create different cutting characteristics and make a particular bur more appropriate for a certain task. Operative, or cavity preparation burs, have deep and wide flutes which allow for more aggressive enamel cutting with higher speed and efficiency. These operative burs are usually either straight-bladed (plain) or crosscut.Straight-bladed burs cut smoothly but more slowly, especially with harder materials. Crosscut burs have additional cuts across the blades (these are the crosscuts) to create increased cutting efficiency. While the benefit of these extra blades has been minimized in recent years with the advent of high-speed handpieces (which cut more efficiently), crosscut burs can generally cut more quickly because debris does not build up on the bur. 

Trimming and finishing burs have more blades than operative burs, and the blades are closer together and shallower, which makes these burs ideal for the fine finishing and polishing of dental materials.

Each type of bur shape has a number designation, with the head of the bur generally increasing in size as the number gets larger within a particular shape series.