Why Your Family Dentistry Clinic Uses Dental Scaling
Your family dentistry clinic pays close attention to your health. A common health problem for which they look is gum disease which is caused by plaque buildup on teeth. If it is left untreated, gum disease can worsen and cause tooth decay, teeth extractions, root canal treatments and bone loss. Efficient and early treatment is of vital importance to overcome the discomfort of gum disease, and it is for this reason that your family dentistry team will resort to dental scaling to maintain your oral health. Dental scaling offers a deep dental cleaning for patients who suffer from gum disease and plaque buildup.
What Makes Dental Scaling Different?
A regular cleaning will primarily clean the surface of the tooth (the crown) and it is done more often. Dental scaling is different because it is a deep cleaning that reaches areas that are usually neglected, such as the tooth below the gum line. Dental scaling effectively removes plaque buildup in crucial areas of the mouth. Dental scaling and root planning are both done by your family dentistry professionals to ensure that the cleaning is complete, efficient, preventative and helps maintain gum health.
How is it Done?
When visiting your family dentistry clinic, dentists will use two methods to remove plaque buildup on the tooth and below the gum line:
Ultrasonic Scaling Instruments
This procedure uses a tool equipped with a vibrating metal tip to remove plaque and tartar (hardened plaque, also known as calculus) from the tooth surface and below the gum line. During this procedure, your dentist will also spray cool water to rinse out the pockets of the gum line.
This method consists of a professional from your family dentistry clinic using a dental scaler and curette. These thin metal tools are used after the ultrasonic scaler to scrape off and remove any leftover plaque from your tooth.
Often, dentists follow dental scaling with root planing. This procedure also scrapes off plaque, but here, tartar is removed from the surface of the roots instead of the crown. This procedure also smoothens out the surface of the root so the gums can reattach well.
How Long Does it Take?
Depending on the severity of the plaque and tartar buildup, your dentist may suggest completing the procedure within multiple visits, though this is quite rare. Dental scaling is usually completed in one visit because its purpose is to ensure oral health. The sooner the treatment is applied, the better the results.
Dental scaling helps treat the following gingivitis symptoms:
- Bad breath;
- A bad taste in the mouth;
- Loose teeth;
- Swollen and bleeding gums;
- Plaque buildup above and below the gum line; and,
- Empty pockets between the gums and teeth.
If left untreated, gum disease worsens and becomes periodontitis, and then severe periodontitis. Dental scaling can avoid the following symptoms of periodontitis:
- Root canal treatments;
- Tooth decay;
- Tooth extractions;
- Tooth loss; and,
- Bone loss.
While it’s normal to have a layer of protein, saliva, and bacteria on your teeth; food particles and sugar can also remain in the mouth and between teeth which can be damaging to oral health and hygiene.
Regular flossing, brushing and professional cleanings ensures that plaque is prevented from hardening and becoming tartar below the gum line. It also permits for healthy gum tissue to fit properly around every individual tooth. Healthy gums attach themselves to a tooth 1 – 3 millimetres below the gum line while unhealthy gums will fit loosely about 4 millimetres below the gum line.
Is it Painful?
Dental scaling can be uncomfortable for those with sensitive gums. If you’re concerned about the pain, speak to your family dentistry professional about numbing your gums with a local anaesthetic before the procedure begins.
What to Expect Afterwards
Gums that suffer from gingivitis or periodontitis are much more sensitive than healthy gums. It is possible to feel some of the following symptoms after dental scaling:
- Sore gums. Your gums may be sore and swollen for a few days following dental scaling and root planing.
- Bleeding gums. Your gums might bleed when you brush your teeth following the treatment. The bleeding should decrease and disappear within three days.
- Tooth sensitivity. Your teeth might become more sensitive to hot or cold, especially in the first few days following the procedure. Expect the sensitivity to disappear after a few weeks.
Maintaining good dental hygiene is essential to alleviate symptoms of discomfort. Desensitizing toothpaste, salt water mouthwash and over-the-counter medication can also help.
How to Prepare for Dental Scaling
Family dentistry professionals will attempt to make the treatment as comfortable as possible, but it is also possible to use the following tricks to prepare for the procedure:
- Using desensitizing toothpaste regularly before your appointment.
- Practice dental hygiene by brushing teeth, flossing and using antiseptic mouthwash every day.
- Avoid brushing teeth too hard or using a tough toothbrush.
- Go for cleanings regularly. More frequent dental cleanings and scaling will result in less pain.
- Asking the dentist to use a topical anesthesia.
If dental scaling is necessary, you can rest assured that the professionals at your family dentistry clinic are experienced and efficient. Not only will you benefit greatly from a fresh smile, but you will also be avoiding multiple future complications.
Dr. Hanan Taraf is an experienced dentist. Her first practice was in Morocco, where she was born and raised. In 2005, she came to Canada, studying at the Université de Montréal where she earned her Canadian DMD Degree, graduating in June of 2010. She’s never stopped learning, however; Dr. Taraf’s dedication to continuing education led her to take further studies so she could offer oral sedation to ensure even the most anxious patients are able to enjoy stress-free treatment. Dr. Taraf is also a graduate from the University of Toronto’s Mini Implant Residency with associate professor Dr. Mark Lin.