Visiting your dentist can seem like you’re stepping into a foreign land because you’re surrounded by shiny dental instruments and elite technology. The unfamiliar environment is enough to make anyone’s anxiety levels rise, but there’s nothing to fear. Here are 5 of the most common dental instruments your dentist uses during routine checkups. Each instrument has a unique purpose to promote the health of your smile.
1. Explorers and Probes
Your semi-annual appointment allows your dentist to get a good look in your mouth to assess the health of your teeth and gums. They’ll perform a visual examination using explorers and probes. A dental explorer resembles a small pen with a thin hook on one or both ends. It’s designed to detect plaque and cavities while also checking the function of restorations. It works along with a periodontal probe, which has small rings marked in millimeter increments to check your gum health.
2. Dental Mirror
Your mouth has many areas where dental issues can linger, like behind the molars. A dental mirror allows your dentist to check every centimeter of your mouth. The small, circular mirror can fit inside of your mouth to look at the hard-to-reach areas of your smile. Its diversity allows it to be used for exams, fillings, cleanings, and many other purposes.
Scalers look very similar to explorers; however, they have a different use. The hook on the end of a scaler is thicker, which allows it to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. It eliminates calculus buildup that can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
If you’ve never heard a suction device at a dentist before, the sound can be startling but don’t fret. It doesn’t cause any pain or discomfort. A suction device removes saliva, water, tartar, and debris from your mouth to keep it clean while your dentist performs any necessary treatments. This allows them to have an unobstructed view of your mouth while also preventing you from accidentally swallowing something.
5. Dental Polisher
During your cleaning, your hygienist or dentist may use a dental polisher, which is a small stainless-steel wand that spins like an electric toothbrush. It is used along with a prophy cup that holds a polishing paste. Your dentist uses them to more effectively remove plaque to ensure the surface of each tooth is clean.
Knowledge is Power
The more you know about your oral health and dental care, the more relaxed you’ll feel during your visits. If you ever have a question about an instrument your dentist uses, don’t hesitate to ask for more information.
About Dr. Geoffrey Iverson
Dr. Iverson earned his dental degree at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 1981. He regularly continues his training to remain current with the latest treatments and technologies to provide state-of-the-art dental care. He believes patient education is the foundation of a healthy smile. If it is time for your next cleaning and checkup, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.