Kool Smiles Reviews How to Set up a Tray

Kool Smiles is a dental practice that focuses on treating children, especially those living in communities with limited access to dental care. In this article, Kool Smiles reviews how to set up a dental tray and explains some of the tools that are needed to perform a wide range of routine dental procedures.

Setting Up a Basic Dental Tray

After putting on a mask and gloves, a dental assistant can begin setting up the dental tray. In most cases, the dental instruments come in a sterilized pack that consists of a dental mirror, explorer, periodontal probe, cotton pliers, oral evacuator tip and saliva ejector tip.

To set up a dental tray, the dental assistant should review the instruments and arrange them in the order in which they will be used:


  • Dental mirror. Dentists use a dental mirror to view areas in the mouth that are hard to see by plain sight. Dental mirrors also enable dentists to examine each tooth separately, including the sides of teeth.
  • Dental explorer. A dental explorer has a sharp end that is used to find holes or soft spots in teeth caused by tooth decay. Explorers can also help dentists find hard food deposits under the gum.
  • Periodontal probe. A periodontal probe is used to measure gingival recession and the depth of gingival sulcus.
  • Cotton pliers. When inserting gauze into the patient’s mouth, the dentist will use cotton pliers to hold the gauze and insert it where needed.
  • Oral evacuator tip. An oral evacuator tip reduces microbial aerosols, helps retract the tongue and cheek and helps maintain a dry working field.
  • Saliva ejector tip. A saliva ejector tip is used to remove saliva, blood and other waste materials from a patient’s mouth during a dental procedure.


Other necessary materials include:

  • 2×2 gauze
  • Patient bib
  • Bib connector  

Kool Smiles strives to provide education and information on all things relevant to dental health professionals and patients in need of dental care. To review more content published by Kool Smiles, browse the extensive Kool Smiles blog collection.