Dental hygienists use a variety of tools to clean teeth during dental cleaning. Electric and portable scalers, dental floss, and a suction tool to remove saliva from the mouth are all common tools used by hygienists. An ultrasonic scraper is often used as it is easier for the patient to tolerate. This tool vibrates at its tip to gently remove plaque and also provides a gentle stream of water to remove debris.
A vacuum is used to suck up excess water. Hand-held mirrors are used to help hygienists see into corners and crevices, as well as check for tartar or tooth decay. Dental scanners and x-rays are traditionally used to detect cavities, but a laser detector can reduce the likelihood of drilling if a cavity is detected in the early stages. After scraping procedures, the hygienist polishes the patient's teeth with a slow hand brush and paste.
A high-level suction device is also used to vacuum up fillings or fragments of old teeth during a dental procedure.