Common Dental Hygienist Tools

Those shiny silver tools that are propped next to you in the dentist’s chair may look intimidating, but they’re not as scary as you think. At the end of the day, they’re just there to help fix any problems with your teeth or clean away any debris! Here are some common tools used by dental hygienists along with their functions:

Mouth Mirror: This guy pretty much speaks for itself. This is to help the hygienist get views of your mouth at different angles. It is also used to reflect light and to retract your lips, cheeks, and tongue

Air Drill: This compact air compressor targets and gets rid of any small, early areas of tooth decay

Cotton Forceps: The job for these guys is to grasp and/or transfer any material in and out of the mouth without disturbing or interacting with any teeth

Explorers: The name says it all. These guys explore and examine any tooth decay,  canals, and other things that look out of the ordinary. They have pointed tips which are either sharp, thin, or flexible which can poke around to find any cavities

Smooth Condenser: So what’s so smooth about this tool, you ask? It’s ends are! They can be round or flat,  small or large, and single or double-sided. The function of this guy is to pack cavity filling into the space your dentist cleared

Hatchet: The name may sound frightening, but this tool is harmless. It is mainly used when preparing for cavity procedures and removes unsupported enamel from the tooth. This guy has a one-sided handle with an angled pointed tip on the other side

Disposable Saliva Ejector: Ah, the almighty “spit sucker” that hangs out of your mouth to get rid of any excess saliva. This guy vacuums up any saliva, water, or other debris during procedures and cleaning

There are many more tools used, but these are the most popular of the bunch. So now that you’re aware of what these guys do and what they look like, don’t freak out next time you happen to look over at those shiny tools; they’re only there to get the job done and pave the way to a better smile!