What Does the Hygienist Use to Clean Your Teeth?

cosmetic dentist sterling vaDid you know that dental hygienists have over a dozen tools at their disposal to help keep your teeth pristine? If you’ve ever wondered what’s on that tray next to the dentist’s chair, keep reading. Ridgetop Dental in Sterling, VA is here to help you learn more about the common tools hygienists use to clean your teeth.

Dental Hygienist Tools to Clean Your Teeth


Your hygienist likely uses a suction tool to remove saliva from the mouth while your teeth are cleaned. This eliminates the need for you to spit over a sink and helps us keep your teeth dry when necessary, such as during a filling procedure.


The mirror is the most important tool the hygienist uses because it allows them to see your teeth at multiple angles. These small, rounded mirrors help us see your teeth and use our other tools effectively.


This tool is what we use at the end of your cleaning to make your teeth shiny and bright. This removes surface level stains and makes teeth smooth after being scaled.


Probes look like hooks and are used to check gum health and measure pocket depths around a tooth. There are multiple probes that are each designed to detect specific oral health issues.


A curette scrapes tartar from underneath the gums. It has a rounded, spoon-shaped end with a hole in it, and this allows the hygienist to remove dental calculus, which is a hard deposit at the base of the teeth.


The scaler is what actually scrapes away plaque and tartar from your teeth. This is the tool that you probably wish we had to use less, but offers several benefits to your oral health!

Taking Care of Your Oral Health in Sterling, VA

We know that a trip to the dentist isn’t usually at the top of your to-do list, but scheduling regular dental exams offers several key benefits to your oral health. Once plaque has hardened on the teeth, it cannot be removed by brushing alone. Your at-home oral hygiene routine, when supplemented by professional cleanings and exams every 6 months, can help you prevent tooth decay for a lifetime.

Schedule your appointment with Ridgetop Dental online today or call our office at (703) 520-7410.

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