Common Dental Instruments Every Patient Should Know

June 16, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — danajones @ 8:14 pm

Common dental instruments on trayThe dental office can be nerve-wracking because some unfamiliar sounds and instruments might seem intimidating. You don’t have anything to fear. The best way to calm your nerves is to educate yourself about all aspects of your dental care, like the instruments your dentist uses during a cleaning and checkup. Here is a list of the most common instruments your dentist might use to check your oral health, so you can relax in the dental chair.

Mouth Mirror

It can be difficult for your dentist to get a good look at your teeth and gums using just their eyes. A mouth mirror gives them better look to spot potential oral health issues. Besides allowing them to check areas that are difficult to see, they can also use the mirror as an extra hand to move your tongue or cheek out of the way.

Sickle Probe

Also known as a dental explorer, the scary-looking tool is quite harmless. It is an instrument that has a long handle with a sharp hook at the end. Your dentist uses it to explore the gingival pockets and scrape away any plaque or tartar buildup. If your dentist spots a cavity, they can use the hook to investigate the area.


A scaler is like a sickle probe; however, it is better at removing extensive tartar and plaque accumulations. Often, the instrument is used for patients who have more significant issues with periodontal disease. The scaler will remove the excess plaque to treat the infection while also lessening the risk of decay.

Saliva Ejector

Also referred to as a suction device, the saliva ejector provides a dry surface for your dentist to explore your mouth. It features a long tube that’s attached to a vacuum to suck saliva and debris from your mouth. You might feel the vacuum stick to your tongue or cheek, but it won’t cause any harm. Some saliva ejectors also emit a spray of water, so don’t be startled if your dentist uses it to rinse your mouth.


If you need a restoration or orthodontics, your dentist will need dental molds. Traditionally, a soft material is held in the mouth for several minutes to get the information necessary, but most dentists have transitioned to digital impressions. A quick and accurate scan gives them the detailed specifications they need to create your treatment plan.

Knowledge is Key to a Healthy Smile

You can sit back and relax during your appointments because knowledge is power. If you ever have a question or concern about an instrument your dentist uses, don’t hesitate to ask for more information.

About Dr. Dana C. Jones

Dr. Jones earned his dental degree at the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, and he has completed additional training through many prestigious programs, including the Dawson Center for Advanced Dental Studies. He is highly qualified in all aspects of dental care. If you’re looking for exceptional dentistry, contact our office today for an appointment.

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