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Diagnostic Instruments

Basic instruments for an optimal diagnosis

fine working ends



excellent tactility

A visit to the dentist usually begins with an examination and diagnosis of the dentition. The aim is to identify any defects and diseases in the mouth. Each tooth is examined, the vitality of the teeth is determined, and the position of the teeth is recorded. It is equally important to look out for signs of malocclusion and to note the overall health of the periodontium. We offer an extensive range of diagnostic instruments for this purpose.

Helpful diagnostic instruments

Diagnostic instruments from American Eagle Instruments are produced with the practitioner in focus. They are particularly strong and resilient, but at the same time fine and precise. As an aside, it also worth mentioning here that our instruments have a lightweight, ergonomically-designed handle.

Probes and their differences.

A probe is an instrument used to diagnose and examine teeth and gums. It is part of the basic set of dental instruments. A distinction is made between probes for examining hard tissue (explorers) and probes for examining the gingiva/periodontal pockets (periodontal probes, probes for determining the PSI). In addition, American Eagle offers probe combinations. These double-ended instruments have a probe for hard tissue on one end and a periodontal probe on the other end.

American Eagle probes offer a choice of two different handles: a 5.6 mm diameter stainless steel handle and an extra-lightweight, 9.5 mm diameter black EagleLite® resin handle.


Explorers “feel” for tartar on teeth and in periodontal pockets. American Eagle Instruments® explorers are particularly fine and flexible. They are characterised by excellent tactility in combination with their lightweight handles.

Periodontal probes

(also called periodontometers, PSI probes or periodontal probes)

Periodontal probes or periodontometers are used to measure pocket depths and have precise and durable markings that enable optimal depth measurement. The results of the depth measurement can be used to detect damage to the periodontium and initiate appropriate therapy. Periodontal probes are indispensable instruments for the initial diagnosis as part of the Periodontal Screening Index (PSI) and also for the documentation and follow-up of periodontal disease. With the help of the PSI, periodontal diseases such as peri-implantitis can be detected and diagnosed at an early stage. To determine the PSI, a periodontal probe is used to measure the depth of the periodontal pockets, the bleeding tendency of the gingiva and the roughness of the tooth surface in the periodontal pockets. Thanks to the lightweight handles of the American Eagle probes, it is possible to accurately estimate the pressure applied during pocket depth measurement.

If a patient suffers from inflammation of the gums, this can be diagnosed through bleeding on probing (BOP). The probe is inserted into the sulcus. If the gums are inflamed, a drop of blood will form. In the case of severe inflammation, there may also be more severe bleeding. If the gums are healthy, no blood will appear.

The probes have coloured markings or milled grooves, which can be used to read the pocket depth. One of the most commonly used periodontal probes is the WHO probe (AEP WHOB). It has markings at 0.5 mm, 3.5 – 5.5 mm, 8.5 mm and 11.5 mm. A small ball at the end of the probe protects the gums from injury. Other frequently used probes include the UNC15 Rung, which has markings at 1 mm and 15 mm, and the Marquis, which has markings at 3, 6, 9 and 12 mm.


AE periodontal probe / probe combination Ball-tip Screening, with Resin handle

Probes (explorers)

“Explorers” enable softened, carious areas in the enamel to be detected and diagnosed. A well-known explorer, for example, is the Probe Old Dominion University (ODU) Explorer. It is particularly well-suited for detecting tartar and concrements at the root of the tooth in the periodontal pocket. The Deep Pocket 11-12 is a very fine periodontal probe for detecting concrements on approximal, oral and facial surfaces in even deep periodontal pockets. The Cow Horn probe (Cow Horn 3CH) is used, for example, to diagnose furcations and bone loss between the roots. Another popular diagnostic instrument for detecting tartar on tooth surfaces is the Pigtail 2 probe.

AE EXP 11-12 X

AE Explorer ODU 11-12, with Resin handle

Hooked probes are used to treat hard tissue such as teeth and tooth enamel. Dental crowns and fillings must bond tightly with the tooth. If this is not the case, bacteria can develop and multiply particularly easily in these areas, which increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Hooked probes, such as the #17 (AE EXP5), are among the instruments used to assess the marginal fit of dentures. The hook can be used to ensure that inlays and crowns have a tight marginal seal.


AE Explorer 5 (23-17), with Resin handle

Hooked probe


AE Explorer 9

American Eagle Instruments® probes are exceptionally resilient. They are made from special stainless steel that provides a very precise tip and therefore gives a better tactile feel.

PA probe / probe combinations

American Eagle PA probe/probe combinations will exceed your expectations! The probe combinations enable simple diagnostics and a reliable assessment of findings. All periodontal probe increments are in millimetres.

American Eagle Instruments® periodontal probes are extremely precise to ensure accurate measurements. They are available with black, yellow or yellow-green markings to make them stand out against the red gums (Hi-Lite probes). This provides optimal visibility.

AE P 12Y/G X

AE PA-Probe / probe combination Yellow/Green 12, with Resin handle

Maintaining Hi-Lite periodontal probes

Avoid ultrasonic cleaning, as the Hi-Lite markings come off under ultrasound! Instead, we recommend gentle cleaning of the probe with a mild detergent. Do not sterilise above 150 °C as the Hi-Lite markings may discolour.

Contact our customer service team for more information.

Frequently asked questions about diagnostic instruments

What is a periodontal probe used for?

A periodontal probe is used to measure the depth of periodontal pockets. It is an indispensable instrument for diagnosing disease of the periodontium and determining suitable treatment.

What markings do periodontal American Eagle Instruments probes have?

All periodontal probes from American Eagle Instruments are available with black, yellow or yellow-green markings to ensure optimal visibility. The scales are displayed in millimetres.

How can I recognise a good PA probe?

A good probe should have a blunt end. This protects the gums from injury. It is also essential to have easy-to-read measurement increments and markings for optimal visibility. Since probing should be performed very carefully and precisely, the instrument’s weight is an important indicator of the accuracy of the diagnosis. The EagleLite® Black Resin plastic handles from American Eagle Instruments are ultra-light and fit very well in the hand. They ensure perfect pressure transfer during periodontal screening and allow “feather-light” probing.

What is a bifurcation probe?

The Nabers furcation probe is used to examine furcation lesions in the upper and lower jaw. This special periodontometer has a sickle-shaped end with a blunt tip, making it easy to reach the bifurcation without injuring the gums. It has scale increments at 3, 6, 9 and 12 mm.

American Eagle instruments
in action!

In our video section you will find detailed information and tips on the correct care and use of American Eagle dental instruments.

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