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Technique Tips: A Reflection on Mouth Mirrors: Types, Usage and Modifications

From Volume 50, Issue 9, October 2023 | Pages 792-797


Debolina Bishayi


Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Mangalore, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, Karnataka, India

Articles by Debolina Bishayi

Kavya Suvarna


Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Mangalore, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, Karnataka, India

Articles by Kavya Suvarna

Surmayee Singh


Department of Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Mangalore, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, Karnataka, India

Articles by Surmayee Singh

Arindam Dutta


Edinburgh Dental Institute

Articles by Arindam Dutta

Manuel S Thomas


Associate Professor, Department of Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Articles by Manuel S Thomas


The mouth mirror is an essential tool in the dental armamentarium. Among its many functions, the most significant is being able to visualize aspects of the oral cavity that are not accessible visually with an appropriate operator posture. Various mouth mirrors are available and can differ in their design, head size and reflective surface. While in use, clinicians may encounter multiple circumstances that can hamper the quality of the reflected image. This in turn can negatively influence the diagnosis and treatment delivered. Hence, the purpose of this Technique Tip is to provide information on various designs of mouth mirrors as well as to provide solutions to counter the challenges associated with the use of mouth mirrors.

Clinical relevance: Sharp, bright, reflected images may be provided for dental clinicians using simple methods and other equipment associated with the mouth mirror.


The clinical practice of dentistry requires precision in a restrictive environment, with tissues that may interfere with the clinician's access and visibility. A basic yet very important tool that assists the clinician in visualizing and accessing the oral cavity, whilst maintaining appropriate operative posture, is the mouth mirror.1 Mouth mirrors were introduced in the early 19th century.2 The earliest mouth mirrors were made of highly polished bronze.3 Since then, this widely used instrument in dentistry has evolved and the purpose of this Technique Tip is to provide an overview of the mouth mirror, highlighting various types, their functions, and clinically significant applications of different mouth mirrors available to dental practitioners.

Mouth mirrors, also rarely referred to as odontoscopes or stomatoscopes, have three main parts:

The shank of the mirror connects the working end (rimmed mirror) with the handle. A mouth mirror can be manufactured either as a single unit (the non-detachable mouth mirror) or, alternatively, with the working end attached to the shank, which in turn is detachable from the handle. The non-detachable mouth mirrors, where the rim, shank, and handle are made of polymer, are either disposable or autoclavable (Figure 1a).

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