Why Does a Dental Hygienist Need So Many Tools?

Why Does a Dental Hygienist Need So Many Tools?

dental toolsOne common question we hear from patients is, “Why does my dental hygienist need so many tools?” Some patients are intimidated by dental cleanings because they’re unfamiliar with the tools a hygienist uses. Other patients are just curious. Whatever your reasoning, we think dental cleaning tools are interesting and helpful, and we’d love to tell you a bit more about what they do. Here’s a quick list of the tools our hygienists use and how they help us clean your teeth.


First, you’ll notice your hygienist uses a mirror throughout your cleaning. This lets them see every part of your mouth—even the backs of your teeth and hard-to-reach places. Hygienists use these mirrors to ensure they’re cleaning your whole mouth and have the perfect angle.


If you have plaque or tartar buildup (most people do!), your hygienist will use a scaler to gently scrape the buildup from your teeth. This part can be scary, but it shouldn’t hurt. 


A curette is like a scaler, but the end is more curved. The hygienist uses a curette to remove hardened calculus from your teeth at the gumline.


A polisher does exactly what it sounds like—it gently polishes your teeth using a circular motion. The hygienist uses a polisher to clean and smooth your teeth after removing tartar, plaque and calculus.


As the hygienist cleans your teeth, they may use a small stream of water to rinse away residue. They’ll also use a suction tool to remove the water and excess saliva. This keeps your mouth dry so the hygienist can work more effectively. In the past, dentists had sinks and hygienists asked patients to rinse and spit to remove saliva and residue. Suction is much more efficient and sanitary, so most dentists no longer use these sinks.


After cleaning, your dentist will use a probe to inspect your teeth. These tools are shaped like hooks and they help make sure your gums are healthy. Most dentists have a set of probes that are used for different issues.

Schedule a Dental Cleaning in Dallas, TX

Now that you know why we use so many tools, you’re ready to schedule your next dental cleaning. Kozlow & Rowell Dentistry is located in Dallas, TX and our dental hygienists are happy to clean your teeth and answer any questions you have about their tools. Make an appointment for your next cleaning today!

Content found on this blog is intended for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional judgement, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please speak with a professional if you have concerns about your oral health.