Why Did My Dentist Use a Toothpick during my exam?

Don't Dentists have an array of tools to use in an exam?

triangular toothpicks

Why would my dentist use a simple toothpick?

The short and simple answer is this: Using a toothpick is a proven method for assessing gum disease.


It is actually more trustworthy than pushing a probe into the gums – and it hurts less. Dentists have been using this method for five years of more. It is an effective test to assess inflammation and bleeding of the gums. This exam method uses a triangular toothpick, placed between teeth and rubbed back and forth four times. There is also an extra benefit: it helps to remove plaque.


In some cases, your Dentist might teach you how to perform the test and ask you to do so at home.