Gracey Curettes

Unlike the sickle scaler and the universal curette, the Gracey curette is designed specifically to be site specific. The facial surface has only one working blade which is angled downward at 70 degrees (Figure 11). Blades are paired on either side of the instrument, and identified by a number imprinted on the handle. Each instrument has an odd and an even number to identify each blade on either end such that the right facing blade is identified by an odd number and the left facing blade is identified by an even number. This can be remembered using the mnemonic “you have the right to be odd.”

Figure 11. Gracey Curette Cross Section.
Illustration showing the cross section of a gracey curette
The edge of a Gracey curette is not curved, it is straight as it projects from the shank. This original shape should be maintained when sharpening.
Figure 12a. Holding the Gracey Curette.
Illustration showing the correct way to hold a gracey curette
With elbows on the work surface, hold the instrument in the non-dominant hand perpendicular to the work surface, such that the odd number on the handle is pointing downward (closer to the lab bench). The blade should be at eye level, at the level of the wrist, pointing toward the operator. The handle should be secured between the thumb and index finger at the top shank of the instrument. With this positioning, the terminal shank should be a little less than 30 degrees to the left from the vertical plane for right handed operators and to the right for left handed operators.
Figure 12b. Holding the Sharpening Stone.
Illustration of proper way to hold the sharpening stone
Position the stone against the right cutting blade surface at 30 degrees right of the vertical plane and to the left for left handed operators.
Figure 12c. Sharpening Motion.
Animation showing the sharpening motion for a gracey curette
In a fluid, continuous up and down motion lightly move the stone against the blade starting at the heel third, working through the middle and the toe third. As sludge, metal shavings and debris build up along the blade and stone, wipe it away with gauze.
Figure 12d. Rounding the Toe.
Animation showing the sharpening motion for the toe of a gracey curette
Hold the instrument perpendicular to the work surface such that the terminal shank is 30 degrees to the left of the vertical. Rotate the instrument between the index finger and thumb so that the blade is now pointing to the right instead of toward the operator eyes. The instrument face should be parallel to the work surface. Hold the stone such that it is positioned 60 degrees to the right of the vertical plane. Move the stone in a continuous motion using overlapping strokes around the toe such that the rounded integrity of the toe is maintained.
Figure 13. Finishing the Instrument.
Animation showing the finishing motion for a gracey curette
Holding the instrument perpendicular to the work surface such that the toe is pointed toward the eyes, position the stone (conical or cylindrical) vertically against the instrument face. Gently rotate the stone from the heal to the middle and then to the toe third.
Table 4. Gracey Curette Sharpening Step-by-Step Summary.
  1. Check the blade identification number on the handle. Aim the even numbered instrument toward the operator; aim the odd numbered one away.
  2. Position the instrument perpendicular to the work surface so the blade to be sharpened is pointing toward the operator. Hold firmly in the non-dominant hand.
  3. Hold firmly in the non-dominant hand, stabilizing the instrument between the thumb and forefinger at the top shank.
  4. Tilt the terminal shank 30 degrees (to the left for right handed operators, or to the right for left handed).
  5. Hold the stone in the dominate hand against the lateral instrument blade surface at 30 degrees (to the right for right handed operators, or to the left for left handed operators).
  6. Move the stone up and down from the heel to the middle to the anterior third.
  7. Round the toe by rotating the instrument such that it is now parallel to the work surface and the blade is pointing straight.
  8. Aim the stone 60 degrees to the left of the vertical plane.
  9. Use fluid overlapping up and down movement to round the toe.