Tools of the trade: Explorer probe D1010

by Dr Chris Sun, Lane Cove Veterinary Hospital, NSW

It’s very common for clients to expect us to clean their dog’s teeth or remove tartar while the animal is awake. Obviously, the animal needs to be anaesthetised to perform most dental procedures. This probe is used to explore under the gumline.

What’s good about it

During all dental procedures, we use this probe to see how deep the pockets extend under the visible tooth. It allows us to measure the depth and that’s the key thing. A depth greater than two or three millimetres always gives me some concern as it means the build-up is not just superficial plaque or tartar. There could even be some root or bone issues.

This probe is not designed for removing tartar but to simply identify how far it extends. The other end of the probe is a scraper for removing stains. It’s completely ineffective against tartar but it nicely removes lighter discolourations. The human equivalent would be coffee or tea stains on the teeth.

The Explorer probe is very good at identifying any pockets under the gumline and the instrument feels very comfortable in the hand. The point of the probe is very fine but stays sharp and straight after years of use and multiple times through the autoclave.

What’s not so good

Overall, it does its job very well. The probe is marked in increments of one millimetre but the increments are obscured when the probe goes underneath the gums. I would like to see it marked numerically to give a more objective measurement so you know exactly how deep it is positioned during the procedure.

Where did you get it

IM3 

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