Periodontal scaler

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


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Periodontal scalers have sharp tips to access tight embrasure spaces between teeth and are triangular in cross-section.
A posterior scaler shown in relation to a posterior tooth on a typodont.

Periodontal scalers are dental instruments used primarily in the prophylactic and periodontal care of human teeth. The working ends come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they are always sharp at the tip, so as to allow for access to narrow embrasure spaces between teeth. They differ from curettes, which possess a rounded tip to access subgingival calculus below the gum line. Subgingival use of a scaler would prove too traumatic to the gingiva for subgingival cleaning.

The anterior scaler (yellow ring) is straight, whicle the posterior scaler (orange ring) has an angled terminal shank (highlighted in red) to allow for easy access to the surfaces of posterior teeth.

Scalers are universal and have cutting surfaces on both sides of their blades, and are thus fit for both mesial and distal surfaces of any tooth in the area in which they are being used.

Scalers are best used when their terminal shanks, namely, the last portions of the handle attached to the blades, are held parallel to the long axis of the tooth. To facilitate proper usage, instruments often come with posterior analogs which possess angled terminal shanks.




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