Periodontal instruments for every dentist and hygienist
Gracey curettes are a small part of the total periodontal instruments produced by us but they are certainly the most representative and known.
Gingivitis and periodontal disease cause the most common dental and oral problems. Most of the times, they derive from poor oral hygiene and the subsequent buildup of plaque around the teeth support structure. This causes inflammation and gingival recession that, if not treated, can lead to severe periodontal diseases.
Periodontics is the specialty of dentistry aiming at keeping and promoting personal health through prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases and conditions that affect the tissues supporting teeth and implants.
Supporting tissues include gums, periodontal ligaments, cementum, the alveolar bone and all other structures supporting teeth and implants.
Periodontics main aim is to preserve the natural dentition by restoring, when possible, the health of teeth and implants supporting tissues. Hence, helping to preserve or improve the well-being, chewing function and aesthetics of patients.
Scaling or curettage
is a very important step of the initial phase of the periodontal treatment. It is the removal of bacterial plaque and tartar in the periodontal pockets under the gum surrounding the tooth.
A careful scaling includes the removal of the oral biofilm and of the extrinsic discolouration caused by coffee, tobacco, etc... It is a laborious and routine technique that does not require anaesthesia.
Two families of hand instruments are used to achieve good scaling:
Scalers and Periodontal Curettes
Scalers are designed for the removal of light, moderate and heavy calculus. They are mainly suitable to remove interproximal, supra- or subgingival tartar, just below the gum margin.
The blades have a pyramidal section, are sharp on both sides and feature a 90-degree angle to the shaft.
Scalers can be straight (ideal to remove interproximal calculus and excellent on large supragingival and lingual surfaces), or sickle-shaped (excellent for removing deposits in contact areas and for overlapping teeth with narrow contact areas). Both types have pointed ends.
This makes them unsuitable for subgingival ablation and root planing because of the sharp edges and the pointy tip that can injure the epithelial joint.
Periodontal Curettes are designed for the moderate removal of tartar from supra- and subgingival surfaces of teeth and for root planing, especially inside deep pockets or if there are furcation lesions. The blades have a semi-circular section and rounded ends. They feature one or two sharp edges and a different angle to the shaft (depending on the type).
Curettes can be Universal or Area-specific.
Universal Periodontal Curettes can be used on basically all tooth surfaces; that’s why they are called Universal.
The blade has a 90-degree angle to the shaft, curved in one plane and sharp on both sides. These features make it the perfect instrument for removing small and moderate amounts of tartar.
Area-specific Periodontal Curettes, or Gracey Curettes (after their inventor's name), are designed for treatments in specific areas and surfaces. The blade has a 60-, 70-degree angle to the shaft. Only one sharp edge is used for each blade: the larger, outer one. The blade is curved in two planes: upward and to the side. These unique features of Gracey curettes make them the best instruments to completely remove thin subgingival tartar and for root planing.
There are several versions of Gracey Curettes, further improved for even more specific areas and for using with different manual skills.
A first variation in the shape is represented by the ones called Mini-Five and After-Five (MF and AF), that we named Short-Type and Long-Type, respectively.
The Long-Type version is designed to facilitate subgingival insertion, especially in deeper periodontal pockets. By reducing the stretching of the tissue, they facilitate removing concretions around the crown and give better access to the roots. Compared to the standard shape, their shaft is 3 mm. longer and their blade 10% thinner.
The Short-Type version is designed to facilitate insertion into narrow and deep pockets, to reach smaller roots, furcations and grooves. Compared to the standard shape, it features a 3 mm. longer shaft and a 50% shorter, thinner blade.
There are also Gracey Curettes with stiffer shafts. These can be used with greater strength to remove harder or more abundant tartar concretions. Obviously, a stiffer shaft gives less tactile sensitivity than a less rigid, and thus more flexible.