Tool Time: Talking Dental Tools

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Just in case you’ve ever thought about the dental instruments we use to give your mouth that fresh feeling after a cleaning at our dental office, we have put together a shortlist of the go-to tools our dental hygienists use to clean your teeth.

Small Mirror

You might think that we’d start off by telling you about our most high-tech tool in order to impress you, but one of the most useful is this small, circular, handheld mirror that allows us to see behind your teeth and deep into every crevice of your mouth.

Metal Probes

No just for alien abductions, the metal probe is a staple of dental cleaning. They are used to push around the tongue when it gets in the way, and also to check for pockets of decay along the gumline.


Probably the instrument that gets the most use, scalers come in several shapes, pointed ends, and blades, but all are made to get the plaque and tartar off the teeth. Beyond the handheld variety, they also come powered by soundwaves, water, and compressed air.


Also used as a scaler/scraper of tartar and plaque, the curette is specifically made with a round end in order to scrape the crevice between the gum margin and the root of a tooth.


Our tiny version of a powered shoe polisher, the dental tool polisher does a similar job of buffing, smoothing out, and making shiny. With the use of a bit of abrasive paste, your teeth will be so slippery that plaque will have a hard time adhering once we’re finished.

Saliva Ejector

Rather than having to continually spit during a cleaning, the saliva ejector is a suction tube that allows us to remove your saliva and keep working.

If you’re past due on your six-month dental checkup and cleaning, call Dr. Greg Ortman and our helpful team at Ortman Family Dentistry. Phone: 765-447-0322. Make an appointment or come by our office in Lafayette, Indiana.