Sharpening Procedure

Sickle scalers, and universal and Gracey curettes share common components: handle, shank, working end and blade. The difference is at the very tip of the instrument (Figure 5). For all instruments, the instrument is held in the non-dominant hand using a palm grasp. The index finger and thumb should be near the junction of the functional shank and the top of the handle such that they will counter balance the force produced at the opposite end of the instrument once the stone is activated. For all stones, the lower half is held in the dominant hand with the thumb on the edge closer to the operator and the fingers on the edge farther. The entire arm will work in one fluid motion so the grasp is intended to stabilize the stone and make such a motion comfortable to accomplish. The difference between the instruments is found at the working end. These differences make sharpening technique a little different for each instrument type.

Figure 5. Instrument Anatomy.
Illustrations showing the anatomy of Sickle scaler, Universal curette and Gracey curette
A. Sickle scaler has two straight cutting edges which join to form the sharp back of the instrument. These cutting edges of the face meet to form the pointed end of the tip. This makes a triangular cross-section. Sickle scaler also comes in a variety where the sharp back is rounded or squared off.
B. Universal curette has two cutting edges with the blade at a 90 degree angulation. The blade is curved in only one plane such that it is not specialized to a particular area of the mouth.
C. Gracey curette blade is curved in two planes. The blade is “offset” such that there is only one cutting edge on each blade. In this example it is offset by 70 degrees.