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Curette Sharpened To Sickle Scaler

I like to keep it simple. I don’t use sickle scalers. I can’t remember the last time I used one, especially in a posterior area. I used a universal curette, a University of California 5/6 (virtually the same as the Columbia 4R/4L)* and the ever so versatile Gracey 13/14. Actually, I had four curettes in my setup, one each of the above and one each of the above that had been sharpened to the point where their blades were narrow. I referred to the well sharpened ones as my thin 13/14 and my thin 5/6. The Gracey 13/14 was my workhorse. It is a very versatile instrument. Recently, I recently read an article that supported this in Dimensions of Dental Hygiene, “A Closer Look at the Gracey 13/14 Curette” by Michaela Nguyen, RDH, MS. I believe it was September of 2015. She supported my claims of the versatility of this instrument.

As I continued to sharpen my curettes the “thin” ones eventually became non-functional and I disposed of them. The regular ones became the thin(s) and I then added a new “regular” one.

I never liked to use sickle scalers in the posterior regions. I found them cumbersome to get to the base of the sulcus/pocket and I didn’t like the increased potential for root surface and soft tissue damage from the pointed end. Actually, the only benefit I can see for a sickle scaler is access to very tight contact areas in the lower incisor region. When I came upon this situation, I would simply “make” a sickle. I would take my thin universal curette and, with a few strokes of my chairside sharpening stone, make one!


*Keep in mind I was a periodontist. I used larger instruments than what is customary. A smaller option for a universal curette would be a Columbia 13/14. All three of the instruments shown are the same. They are all University of California 5/6’s just, obviously, sharpened differently.

ADA Chairside Guide to Periodontitis

How To Sharpen Video

Download Dental Instrument Sharpening Guide

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