Scalers and Mirrors and Picks Oh My!

Written by Dentist Reviews. Posted in Interdental brushes, Night mouth guards, Oral hygiene

Dental hygiene products

Think you have a lot of dental care products at home? It’s nothing compared to what your dentist has to have on hand, just to perform a routine cleaning. In addition to the motorized drills, pump-driven vacuums, and complicated x-ray machinery, your dentist also relies on a host of much simpler tools to examine and clean your teeth. Here are just a few of the most common.

  • Dental Picks
    The pick is probably the most recognizable tool on the dentist’s tray. Picks can be straight, angled, or curved, in a variety of different angles. The pick has two main functions: to scrape away any stubborn accumulation of foreign material, and to probe for sensitivity, soft spots, and unusually deep pockets of space between the tooth and gum. While picks are made of metal, the angle of the tool and the specific technique of the dentist ensure that the enamel will not be damaged during the exam.
  • Dental Mirrors
    The purpose of the mirror is obvious — to visualize the lingual side (or “tongue side”) of the teeth. But not just any mirror will do. The angle of the head and relative sizes of the mirror surface and handle are crucial factors, especially when you consider that, more often than not, the mirror will not be the only tool in the mouth at any given time.
  • Dental Scalers
    Dental scalers are very similar to picks, but where picks use a single point of contact to remove deposits, scalers have a flat edge, which is applied to the enamel perpendicularly, much as a straight-razor is used for shaving. Dental scalers remove plaque buildups, and are often used in with root planers during a deep teeth cleaning procedure — the scaler removes plaque from below the gumline, and the planer smooths the surface so the gum can more easily reattach.

While modern dentistry employs some very high-tech solutions, it also relies on some tried-and-true designs. Though materials may change and minor improvements may be made, the basic design of picks, mirrors, and scalers hasn’t changed much through the decades, ensuring that these simple tools will be a mainstay of dental health professionals for years to come. Read more here.

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