Left: PetitePearl accessing posterior teeth easily; right: PetitePearl cup adapting subgingivally

Product review: Spinning in control—a new angle on polishing

Nov. 1, 2020
The PetitePearl prophy angle by Kerr might be just the thing that will help dental hygienists gain the control they want during polishing.

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Have you ever walked your patient to the front desk and noticed a clump of red prophy paste on the person’s white button-down shirt? Having dental team members add face shields and head coverings with the new COVID-19 infection control recommendations certainly covers us up and protects us from wayward prophy paste—if we’re polishing at all. But it hasn’t helped protect patients from spatter. There has to be a better way, right?

The PetitePearl prophy angle by Kerr might be just the thing that will help you gain the control you want during polishing. The PetitePearl is designed with a slim head to allow for greater visibility and easier adaptation throughout the mouth. The gear mechanism and cup design lead to smooth polishing, improved subgingival access, and reduced spatter. White shirts everywhere can rejoice!

A group of hygienists set out to learn whether this petite prophy angle lived up to its claims. The group was first surveyed to find out what is important to them in a prophy angle. Spatter, firm or soft cup, and cost were their top three answers when deciding what to bring into their practices. More than half of the hygienists surveyed had used a slim-angle prophy head, and 89% could see the benefit of the PetitePearl as compared to a standard angle. But did it perform?

Smooth and adaptable

One hundred percent of the hygienists surveyed said the slim head allowed them to maneuver through hard-to-reach areas. They reported that it was very easy to reach distals of terminal molars, and it also navigated overlapped incisors well. This allowed for more efficient stain removal—a huge plus! A few of those surveyed noted how well it worked for their pediatric patients. The petite head truly increased their ability to move around the entire mouth, including the dreaded third molars and the tight lingual anteriors.


COVID-19 certainly has us all thinking about aerosols and infection control like we never have before. Of the hygienists surveyed, 75% rated spatter control to be better than their current prophy angle.

Firm or soft

The PetitePearl comes in both firm- and soft-cup options so there’s bound to be a style that suits every hygienist or patient situation. I was also able to try it out, and I was quite impressed with how well it flared subgingivally. The cup was able to attack the gumline stain and plaque. For those dental hygienists who polish first, this could be a great time-saver as I found it to remove plaque and stain quickly and effectively.


We’ve all used a prophy angle that started to fall apart halfway through the procedure, not to mention the spatter it caused and its ineffective stain removal. The PetitePearl moves along smoothly and can easily stand up to the most challenging polishing. Of the hygienists surveyed, 90% responded positively when asked if they would purchase this angle and recommend it to a fellow hygienist.

We all want control in our operatories. The PetitePearl gives hygienists control over cup adaptation, spatter, and the choice of a soft or firm cup that will last the whole procedure—all of which helps us to provide our patients with an effective, clean, and safe polishing. Perhaps the PetitePearl prophy angle offers enough features that it might encourage you to get that handpiece out of the drawer and get back to polishing. It gives that smooth clean-teeth feel that our patients love. 

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by KaVo Kerr. Content has been reviewed for editorial integrity. For more information on our editorial standards, see rdhmag.com/page/submission-guidelines.

Amanda Hill BSDH, RDH, has been in dentistry for more than 25 years. She currently practices part-time clinically and is an industry educator for DentalPost. Recently she began sharing her passions by writing for dental companies and magazines. She is a member of the advisory board for RDH magazine and is hosting her very own podcast on the Dental Podcast Network. Hill is a proud hygienist, Navy spouse, and mom of three, and she’s intent on spreading kindness wherever she goes.