Many of you must have experienced some kind of plaque buildup in the mouth. The saliva, bacteria and proteins in your mouth form a thin layer that covers your teeth surface, all the time. When you eat, tiny particles of the food, acids and sugars form a buildup on the teeth known as Plaque.
Plaque is the main cause of many oral health problems. The bacteria in plaque eat what you eat and they produce acid. The more plaque on your teeth, the more acid is present. This acid dissolves the enamel of your teeth and as a result, a cavity forms. This is how a tooth decays.
Plaque along the gumline can also irritate the gums, causing them to become inflamed and bleed. This is known as Gingivitis. This plaque buildup, if not removed, can harden to create a Calculus (also known as Tartar).
Calculus formation is associated with several clinical problems including bad breath, receding gums and bleeding gums. Brushing and flossing can remove the underlying plaque from which calculus forms. However, once formed, calculus is too hard (firmly attached) to be removed with a toothbrush. Calculus buildup can be removed with ultrasonic tools or dental hand instruments (such as a periodontal scaler).
Tooth Scaling and Polishing
Tooth Scaling is a common dental procedure to remove hardened plaque, called calculus, to protect the teeth from damage and gum disease. As this procedure may leave the teeth rough, Polishing is followed to smoothen the tooth surface.
What is the Procedure involved in Tooth Scaling & Polishing?
There are two steps involved in scaling and polishing the teeth:
This is the first stage that involves the removal of plaque and tartar deposits from the tooth surfaces. An ultrasonic scaler is used to remove heavy deposits of calculus tartar and plaque.
This is the second and final stage that involves smoothening the surface of the teeth. In this stage, a polishing brush and a special toothpaste are used to remove stains and smoothen rough surfaces. A smooth tooth surface helps prevent the easy buildup of plaque.
What are the Benefits of Tooth Scaling & Polishing?
- Tooth Scaling and Polishing help prevent various gum and tooth diseases such as gingivitis, and dental caries. They also keep the gum healthy and less sensitive. Furthermore, they remove superficial stains on the surface of the teeth.
- Bad breath can be eliminated or greatly reduced after scaling and polishing as the teeth get rid of the bacteria that produce the smell. Tartar buildup is often the main cause of bad breath and having this removed is a great way to have fresh breath again.
- Tooth Scaling and Polishing help reduce the risk of heart diseases. Many studies have claimed the correlation between good oral hygiene and good overall health. Diseases such as gingivitis and gum disease are linked to negatively affecting the cardiovascular system. Simply brushing your teeth and regular dental checkups can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure diabetes and strokes.
- These procedures can also save you money in the long run. You can save a lot of money by looking after your teeth. Restorations, tooth extractions, implants and any other dental treatment can add up to a big sum over a long period of time.
The best way to avoid this is by regularly brushing and getting scaling and polishing done whenever possible. Even if you develop a cavity in your teeth, spotting it while it is small will mean a much less expensive treatment than restoring a big cavity.
It is also a chance to check on your overall oral health. If the dentist intervenes early, they can save you from many serious dental problems and potentially painful procedures.
How Often Should Tooth Scaling & Polishing be Done?
Tooth Scaling and polishing should be done at least twice a year. However, your dentist can recommend frequent cleaning depending on your oral health condition.
Common Myths about Tooth Scaling and Polishing
You must have heard a number of myths regarding scaling and polishing. A few of them have been busted below:
Scaling Weakens the Teeth and makes them Loose:
One of the most common myths about scaling is that it weakens the teeth. However, this is not the case. Scaling removes the elements deposited on the teeth that eventually lead to gum disease. When these deposits are removed from the teeth, one might feel that the tooth has weakened and become loose. In reality, however, scaling does not weaken the teeth as they are already made weak by the deposits of calculus and plaque.
Scaling makes the Teeth Sensitive:
As the gum disease proceeds, the gap between the tooth is filled with calculus (tartar). When this tartar is removed by scaling, the teeth get exposed and become moderately sensitive. In most cases, the sensitivity vanishes in a couple of days.
Scaling Increases the Gap Between the Teeth:
Mostly, the cases of gum disease create gaps between the teeth which are filled by calculus or tartar deposits formed on the teeth. After scaling, these deposits are removed from the teeth and patients feel that the gaps between the teeth have increased.
Scaling is Painful and it causes Severe Bleeding from the Gums:
If there are only superficial deposits, it may not be painful but if there are deep deposits, your dentist will usually use local anaesthesia before the procedure. There may be slight bleeding, as the plaque and calculus (tartar) normally cause gum soreness and highly inflamed gums that may cause bleeding.
Remember, you must always provide your total health history to the dentist before the scaling and polishing procedure. There may be slight bleeding while scaling which has a probability of introducing bacteria into your bloodstream.
Therefore, precautions may need to be taken to treat gum diseases in patients who are at higher risk of infections such as patients with cardiac problems, diabetes, liver disease and immunocompromised patients like those who are HIV positive.
Always remember, a healthy mouth is the starting place for a beautiful smile! And the healthier your teeth, the healthier you are!