Gracey curettes are area-specific periodontal curettes made from stainless steel used to remove supra and subgingival calculus. Along with universal curettes, Gracey curettes are one of the main instruments used for scaling and root planing. Gracey curettes are especially ideal for subgingival calculus removal because the design of the instrument allows for better adaptation to the anatomy of the roots.
These curettes are area-specific due to the design of the face of the instrument in relation to the terminal shank. Because the face is at a 70-degree angle from the terminal shank, one of the cutting edges is lower than the other, and this is the cutting edge that is used during periodontal debridement. Similar to the universal curette, the Gracey curette features a rounded back and toe with a semicircular cross section, which prevents damaging the gingival tissue.
There are many different types of Gracey curettes that are designed to access different surfaces of the teeth in different areas of the mouth. In addition to the traditional Gracey curettes, there are also modified designs with extended shanks or miniature and micro-miniature working ends. The modified curettes with extended shanks have a 3mm longer terminal shank and are used for root surface debridement in pockets deeper than 4mm. An example of these are called After-Five curettes. The curettes with miniature and micro-miniature working ends are used for deep narrow pockets, line angles and furcations and an example of these are Mini-Five and Micro-Mini Five curettes. These instruments also have a 3mm longer terminal shank and a blade half the length of a regular Gracey curette. The micro-miniature working ends are more rigid and are 20% thinner than that of a miniature curette, allowing them to access tight pockets without tissue trauma. Gehrig outlines areas of the mouth and tooth surfaces the standard Gracey curettes are used on. The Gracey curettes and areas of use are shown in Table 1.