Understanding Diagnostic Dental Instruments

The best Diagnostic Dental Instruments offer the clinician and patient superior overall dental health, and Nordent Diagnostic Instruments have a proven record of quality and durability. We feel so strongly about our precision and excellence that we offer a money back guarantee. That shows we have total confidence that you will love our instruments.

Diagnostic Instruments are where dentistry and treatment begin. Clinicians must be able to see exceptionally well in all areas, and have the best Explorers and Periodontal Probes in order to carry out a comprehensive treatment plan. 


Nordent knows it all begins with the Mirror. You deserve to see clearly from all angles and to provide excellent comfortable retraction as needed.

Our mirror surface is rhodium coated; a very hard mineral applied to the reflective surface to reduce scratching.  We do know that when mirrors are in the ultrasonic, they can become scratched over time from repeated contact with other objects.

Mirror heads should be thought of as semi-consumable.  Nordent recommends that extras should be ordered for quick and easy chairside replacement as needed.  They are available in convenient boxes of 12 to ensure plenty on hand. It is a minor investment overall for excellent diagnosing ability and clinician eye comfort.

With multiple Nordent options available, how do you choose your favorite Mirror?  There are two common sizes, the #4 a 7/8th diameter and the most common a #5, 15/16 diameter which is slightly larger. 

Attachment style is Simple Stem or Cone Socket.  The Simple Stem is more common internationally while the Cone Socket is most common in the United States.  The Cone Socket locks the mirror head in place and seals the cavity in the mirror handle to increase stability.  The Cone Socket style is universal for mirror and handle, for ease of ordering.

Nordent offers four mirror handle designs all available for Simple Stem or Cone Socket and all will fit any mirror brand. 

DURAlite Color Rings Mirror Handle has a large 9.5 mm diameter and light weight of only 24 grams.  This is designed to provide maximum comfort and control. The color rings offer customization for ease of identification.

The DURAlite Round Mirror Handle also has a large 9.5mm diameter with a more tapered body and weight of 15.7 grams.  This style has a ControlRing Grip exclusive to Nordent providing maximum comfort and control in this ultra-light weight mirror handle.

DURAlite Hex Mirror Handle is often called the “Hand Form Mirror Handle” with a diameter of 10mm across multiple facets for unlimited finger positioning.  At 25 grams this handle is light weight and improves comfort and control for the clinician.

The Standard Mirror Handle has a thin 6.3 mm diameter and weight of 29 grams.

When choosing your mirror handle consider the ergonomics.  Lighter weight will be more comfortable on your non-dominant hand. A wider diameter is easier on your hand grip, and equally important, increases patient comfort when retracting. Ever see your patient with that tell-tale red line at the commissure of the lip, or even cracking and irritation from tugging on the tissue to retract?  That can often be averted by using a larger handle mirror.  Your patient will leave your appointment so much more comfortable!

Now if you really want to enjoy seeing everything, truly everything in your patients’ mouth, we suggest the Double-Sided Mirror Head.  Treat yourself to a few and see what you have been missing! This is our most versatile mirror.  Both mirror front and back are reflective which means that you can now clearly see the distal of third molars!  Clinicians can retract and still use indirect vision as well as increasing illumination!  Literally while retracting the cheek you will clearly see the dentition from the back side of this amazing mirror!  You can now truly can see it all, and keep the patient’s lips, tongue and cheek comfortable!


Nordent Periodontal Probes are made from spring-tempered stainless steel with millimeter markings precisely cut into the Probe tip. Color coding is applied under extreme temperatures to penetrate the surface of the tip. This means the markings are physically etched into the stainless steel not just a coating that will wear off.  Periodontal Probes must be of high quality for accurate markings, durability and tensile strength. 

There are a wide variety of Periodontal Probes found in the Nordent catalog.  The most common style is the 3,6,9,12-millimeter format, as the single millimeter markings can be difficult to read and become subject to interpretation.  In the past several years the University of North Carolina probe has become increasingly popular.  There are many options in both single and double end periodontal probes so choose your favorite.

The most important aspect of probe choice is a standard probe for all practitioners in the office to create ease of use and consistency of readings. This allows for a standard of periodontal disease diagnosis and treatment with all clinicians in the office.

Look for Nordent’s lightweight ergonomic handle for overall best tactile sensitivity for both tissue and calculus detection, as well as ease of measurement reading.

Nordent Explorers are exceptional at detecting decay, calculus and other abnormalities.  The thin, flexible tips that taper to a sharp point come in multiple single and double end options. All Nordent Explorer tips are made from spring-tempered stainless steel and precisely bent by our expert craftsmen.  This creates a thin instrument with a high tensile strength for durability and long wear.  Explorers of a lesser quality than Nordent can be too stiff decreasing the flexibility and limiting a practitioner’s tactile sensitivity.

Explorer options are abundant.  Some common operative options are the #2 pigtail, which has a very curved small bend, and the #3 cow horn with a larger bend.  The benefit of the #2, and #3 Explorer is that they can be used for both calculus detection and examination for decay as they are slim and strong enough for both sub and supra gingival use.

The common Explorer tip #5 is excellent for detection of dental decay though presents with limited access sub gingivally due to its size and bend. The traditional back end is rarely used as posterior access creates a flexion in the tip so consider pairing with a rounded explorer as well for subgingival exploration.


All Nordent Explorers are super lightweight to ensure the clinician feels the sensation from instrument tip to fingers to accurately detect any imperfections in the anatomy of the tooth.

Explorer Probe Combinations, called Expros have become increasing popular.  These double ended explorer and periodontal probe combination save space in your kit while saving on cost as there is one less instrument to purchase.  There are multiple Expros to choose from to meet your specific needs, all crafted from spring-tempered stainless steel.  Each of the Probe measurements are precisely cut into the tip and color coded at extreme temperature to penetrate the tip surface for durability. All Explorer tips are hand shaped by Nordent’s expert craftsmen.  Choose the Expro that best meets your needs and you will love the shape, feel, consistency and comfort in all of your patient examinations.

Your excellent diagnostic skills are what keep your dental chairs filled and your patients in excellent dental health. We recommend our High Quality, Ergonomic, Durable Diagnostic Instruments to help you achieve excellence and superior patient satisfaction. As with all Nordent instruments you are guaranteed the highest level of quality and consistency in the industry. 

Nordent intends to be “best of class” and better than any other instrument manufacturer in product and service.  You may feel that sounds braggadocios, but for Nordent it is just our daily passion for creating the best experience for dental professional and patient alike.  We know that you can only be your best when you can see clearly and explore every aspect of the tooth surface, so try our Nordent Diagnostic Instruments for proof that excellence makes your day extraordinary.