The Tools that Clean Your Teeth

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Keeping up a healthy oral hygiene routine is important. Not only should you be brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and flossing at least once a day, but you should be coming in for a professional cleaning twice a year. When you come in for your six-month dental checkup, our dental hygienist gives your mouth an in-depth cleaning with professional dental instruments and cleaners that you won’t have at home. Here is a little primer on dental tools for your oral education.


You may think that your bathroom mirror reveals all you need to know about your appearance, but it can’t give you a good look behind your teeth. Our hygienists use a tiny, circular, handheld mirror in order to peer into the smallest nooks and crannies of your mouth in order to discover tartar and decay on your teeth.


There are various types of metal probe, but the most common is a hook-shaped probe that has a sharp point to push around the gumline and measure pocket depths around a tooth.


A scaler is another hand-held pointed metal tool that is used to scrape away plaque and tartar from your teeth. They are curved in a way that allows easy adaption to tooth surfaces. There are anterior and posterior scalers. Scalers also come in powered varieties, sonic and ultrasonic, that use soundwaves, compressed air, and water to do the same job.


Curettes are area-specific and are used to remove calculus (tartar) deposits from below the gumline. Curettes have rounded ends and are used to scrape in the crevice between the gum margin and the neck or root of a tooth to remove any hard or soft deposits.


Once the tartar and plaque has been scraped away, the polisher buffs away and smooths the uneven areas on your teeth, leaving a slick, shiny surface that discourage plaque and tartar growth until the next time you return to us for your next checkup.

Saliva Ejector

Not to be forgotten, the saliva ejector is the suction tube that the hygienist hangs in the corner of your mouth and tells you to spit into. Dental work gets your saliva glands going, and in years past you had to take time out to spit in what was called a cuspidor. Not anymore.

If you’re past due on your six-month dental checkup and cleaning, call Dr. Jon Ormson and our helpful team at Jon Ormson DDS. Phone: 806-354-8526. Make an appointment or come by our office in Amarillo, Texas.