Metal utensils that will be used to handle food that's to be consumed generally need first to be immersed in a mikvah ("toyveled") (if owned by a Jew). If the food or utensil is hot, the utensil must be used only for meat, only for dairy, or neither: not both. Once used hot for meat, it becomes a "meat" utensil, and unusable for dairy; and vice versa.

What is the halachic status of dental instruments owned by a Jew? Do dental instruments need to be toyveled? Can they become meat/dairy if they come into contact with hot portions of food in a patient's mouth?

  • 6
    1. They aren't for food. 2. How can food in a patient's mouth be hot enough to make them meat/dairy?
    – Seth J
    Jul 5, 2013 at 20:15
  • @SethJ 2. doesn't they become hot when you drill?
    – jutky
    Jul 6, 2013 at 19:56
  • 2
    Why do we care if they became meat or dairy (or treif or chametz etc.)?
    – Double AA
    Jul 6, 2013 at 20:00
  • 4
    @jutky Dentists usually clean the teeth before drilling. No point in filling a cavity if you leave food behind inside!
    – Double AA
    Jul 6, 2013 at 20:00
  • 1
    @DoubleAA I'm not arguing about it, just was asking.
    – jutky
    Jul 7, 2013 at 10:16

1 Answer 1

  1. Rav Heinemann explains, "Items not requiring tevila include utensils made from metal or glass whose intended purpose is not for food usage, e.g. an arts and crafts knife. Even if the knife was to be occasionally used for food preparation, tevila would not be required." Dental equipment is not used for food, I assure you. The tools are too expensive to even consider the idea. Even if it was used occasionally, Rav Heinemann mentioned it still doesn't require tevila. http://www.star-k.org/articles/articles/1168/the-mitzvah-of-tevilas-keilim/

  2. As DoubleAA said, it would be very strange for a dentist to drill without performing any kind of rinsing which would remove the dairy or meat particles. Moreover, the kli would likely be noseim taam l'pgam either due to aino Ben yomo or whatever cleaning agent is used between drillings. Moreover, Rav Shlomo Zalman (Halichos Shlomo Erkai Refuah 2:165) writes regarding no concern for metal braces being: "First he says that most food that goes into ones mouth is from a Kli Sheini and does not have the power to affect anything in the mouth. Even according to the opinion that a solid food retains its status of Kli Rishon, that is only if remains hot enough to be deemed Yad Soledes Bo, which is not the case for food that you would put in your mouth." (http://revach.net/halacha/tshuvos/Rav-Shlomo-Zalman-Auerbach-Braces-Crowns-Is-There-A-Problem-Of-Basar-VChalav/4836)

  • Also, dental instruments must be sterilized before use. Thus they would be "kashered" . Jan 26, 2017 at 14:59
  • @sabba only if sterilized in an autoclave, not if sterilized using some sort of chemical cleaning
    – Double AA
    Aug 8, 2017 at 1:34

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