General Dental Informtion, Root Canal and Gum Problems Dentistry

Dental Scaling

a woman scaling her teeth

Dental plaques are amongst the most important factors causing tooth decay. To avoid it, different approaches are recommended, including dental scaling. Saliva, a mouth decay-causing bacteria and consumption of different foodstuffs are also amongst factors causing plaques and caries. As yellow cavities, plaques are developed over the teeth. They are also known as bacterial plaques.

The plaques will not get stiffened if they are not rinsed and brushed for a long time, as they wouldn’t disappear even after brushing. In this type of case, the teeth need dental scaling.

It is useful to know that dental scaling is pain free, and it completely removes all plaques which had been deposited over your teeth. Plaques over the teeth would cause bad breath (halitosis) and if they are left untreated they would be followed by tooth decay and various sorts of gum diseases.

People will often ask different questions about dental scaling, so later in this article we will try to answer them in order to help you reach a clear picture of this treatment. So, please study this article to the end.

Dental Scaling Procedure

Initially the dentist needs to examine your teeth physically. In this way, using a small mirror, they start to examine the teeth, gums and everything around them. It would help them to diagnose various problems and abnormalities of your teeth and gums. Then it comes to removing plaques and cavities. Plaques are removed using a special device, known as a dental scaler. In this phase, however, you will hear some ear splitting noises, which is completely normal.

scaling of teeth by dentist

Dental scaling with a scaling tool and a small mirror by a dentist

Then it comes to cleaning the teeth, brushing and polishing with an abrasive toothpaste. To do so, a very powerful electric toothbrush is used to be able to clean your teeth very deeply. If any plaques had remained from the last step, they would then be removed with this brush. After that, the dentist starts to clean the space between your teeth using a specialized dental gloss.

Then it comes to washing the mouth in order to remove and cleanse all plaques and germs one may find in their mouth. Mouthwash fluid including fluoride would be used for washing the mouth. Fluoride is a protective material which can enhance teeth resistance against decay.

dentist doing scaling and brushing

The dentist is doing scaling and brushing of the teeth

Advantages of Dental Scaling

Dental scaling by a dentist is a necessary care everyone needs to meet. You can find a number of advantages of scaling as follows:

  • Preventing gum inflammation and bleeding
  • Reducing bad breath
  • Preventing the spread of tooth decay
  • preventing the spread of infection in the gums and teeth whitening

The risks of dental scaling

It is useful to know that dental scaling is not hazardous, however, what should be considered as a risk are dental plaques, because dental plaques cause serious dental decay on your teeth, and they could lead to losing your teeth over time.

Although some people believe that dental scaling may damage the dental tissue, which is not true. Dental scaling is the only treatment we have for treating dental plaques. If it is not treated at the right time, it will result in very hefty costs. This is because tooth decays will be more serious over time, which in turn may lead to gum diseases. As a result, the patient would need more treatments. For the same reason, do your best to go through the necessary measures to get rid of your dental plaques.

After doing dental scaling, often people complain about the sharp pain they would feel while drinking hot or cold drinks. This is due to some oral diseases. Thus, after completion of your dental scaling process, you cannot attribute all sorts of pain or discomfort to the dental scaling. You need to do some more serious work to examine and analyze your dental problems.

Commonly, dental scaling is done once a year, however in some cases where a dentist recommends their patients to do it twice a year. Almost all the time, more than two times a year is not recommended and it would be detrimental.

Is Dental Scaling Painful?

Dental scaling is pain free, this is because it uses high vibrational energy. The ultrasonic scalers create shock waves to remove calculus deposits from your teeth, so patients feel no pain in this process. Some people think that scaling may stimulate their teeth to come loose, but this thought is completely wrong. The fact is that your tooth already came loose and the empty space created by the loosening had been filled with plaques, so when the latter are removed the loosened tooth is felt more clearly.

Generally, it is better to start the necessary measures for doing dental scaling before the multiple layers of plaques get stiffen. That is if you feel that some plaques have been deposited on your teeth.

Dental Scaling After Orthodontic Treatment

Dozens of patients ask frequently about teeth color change. Sometimes the patient’s teeth color would have been changed, after removing the fixed orthodontic braces. For this reason and in order to achieve a better and more appropriate result, your orthodontist may recommend you to use dental scaling or dental bleaching. It not only makes your treated-with-orthodontics smile more beautiful, but it also prevents tooth decay and caries.

scaling of teeth after orthodontic treatment

Scaling of teeth after orthodontic treatment

Role of Dental Scaling in Gums’ Health

Dental scaling plays a direct role in maintaining the health of your gums. Teeth and gums always are encountered with mineral-filled saliva of mouth, foods and drinks which in turn create plaques on your teeth. Dental plaques pave the way for growth of bacteria across teeth and gums, which in turn would lead to destruction of gums and decay of teeth.

The healthy gums’ tissue sticks firmly into the teeth. When the plaques stuck to the teeth grow in terms of volume and size, they annihilate gums over time and will fill the empty spaces caused by the removed gums. It, in turn, will loosen the base of the teeth.

Gum decay (Periodontitis) and its replacement with dental plaques happens over time, as most people do not notice the decay and removal of their gums. For that same reason, sometimes after dental scaling, patients would think that it has been dental scaling which has damaged their teeth. In reality, the gum, which already has retreated because of accumulation of dental plaques, would then appear suddenly after removing all plaques. On-time dental scaling will help you to avoid decaying and retreating your gums.

After-Scaling Cares

After doing dental scaling, you need to follow necessary care in order to avoid and to prevent any potential problems in the future. First of all, it must be said that you may feel some mild to intense pain around your teeth or gums after finishing scaling for several days. Likewise, your gums would be inflamed and you will suffer from repeated bleeding. Presumably, your dentist will prescribe pills or mouthwash for you in order to prevent infection.

Your dentist may also prescribe Doxycycline for you. Once in a while, refer to your dentist to let them consider and re-analyze your recovery process. If your pains have got deeper, your dentist may start other medical processes to treat you. In general, you need to follow all necessary personal care to avoid recurrence of gum diseases.

Please pay attention to the following tips after doing dental scaling:

  • Brush your teeth with soft toothbrush at least two times a day
  • Clean the space between your teeth daily. To do so, you can use dental floss
  • Having a balanced diet is very vital
  •  Do not use smoke in any case
tooth brushing after scaling

Brushing is one of the most important cares after scaling the teeth.

How Often Dental Scaling is Necessary?

One of the frequently asked questions about scaling is how often we need to visit our dentist to scale our teeth. Responding to this question depends on the fact that how much you care about your oral and dental hygiene. Sometimes, people perform dental scaling only once, and they would remove all bacterial plaques inside their teeth, and then they start to follow standard and necessary hygiene care; however, in general, any person needs to carry out dental scaling at least once a year.

It helps you to remove those plaques which are not removable through brushing; hence eventually you will have healthy teeth. Dentists can use better devices and tools to remove dental plaques. Generally, it can be said that the more you care about your teeth, the easier bacterial plaques and caries will be removed from your teeth. Likewise, according to some dentistry instructions, it is better to do dental scaling once every six months. However, to make sure about whether you need it or not, you can visit a dentist and ask their opinion.

What would happen if we ignore dental scaling?

Plaques actually are a kind of bacteria; hence, if they remain in your mouth or on your teeth, they will result in tooth decay over time. You will suffer from gum inflammation, if plaques are developed under it. So, when you start to brush your teeth, your gum will start to bleed. Dental plaques accumulate over time, and eventually the activity of bacteria living under gum will also be increased. It activates your body’s immune system, which starts to secrete some chemicals. These chemicals not only kill bacteria, but also they attack bones surrounding the teeth; so, you need to visit your dentist once in a while in order to remove your dental plaques.

scaling of the back of the teeth by the dentist

Scaling of the back of the teeth by the dentist

Before and After Dental Scaling

Sometimes people dodge and ignore dental scaling. However, if they knew the results of this process they would be eager. Your teeth may face decay before scaling, while after it, they will dodge any more decay.

Also, after dental scaling the potential of suffering from gum diseases will be decreased considerably, the bad breath would be resolved and you can have some whiter teeth. Eventually, your body’s general health will be met; so do not ignore or forget it.

dental scaling

Before and after dental scaling

Dental Scaling for Children

When a dentist begins the dental scaling process for children, they will find out how much attention has been paid to the oral and dental hygiene. When the first baby teeth are developed in a child’s mouth, scaling must be started. The same steps and procedures used for adults are repeated for children, and there is no certain difference between them. Sometimes, to make sure about your child’s oral and dental health, dentists recommend you to take some radiological images from their mouth.

Home Approaches of Dental Scaling

Today, many people seek techniques which would help them to do their dental scaling in their house. To do so, there are several approaches, including the following options:

  • Consuming certain fruits and vegetables is useful for home-made dental scaling. For instance, chewing raw carrots and celery is very effective in strengthening gums and cleaning teeth.
  • Full and proper tooth brushing. Correct use of a proper toothbrush (no hard, no soft), is quite effective in removing dental plaques. Make sure that you spend sufficient time to brush all of your teeth and repeat it at least two times a day.
  • sing toothpaste including fluoride. Toothpaste including fluoride strengthens your teeth enamel through preventing formation of cavities and cares on your teeth.
  • Proper and regular usage of dental gloss will result in removal of dental plaques and also prevents any sort of tooth decay.
  •  Using proper mouthwashes regularly is very important and helpful.
  • Avoid consuming smokes and alcoholic drinks.

Dental Scaling FAQ

1- How often scaling should be done?

People who observe their oral hygiene after a session of scaling do not require the repetition of scaling for a long time. However, saliva has special constituents in some people that predispose them to plaque formation and gum diseases. Scaling at short intervals (every 6 months) is recommended to these people.

2- Is there a problem with using anti-plaque toothpaste?

Teeth plaque cannot be removed by brushing and toothpaste. Anti-plaque toothpastes only remove teeth stains and should not be used constantly. In addition to possible allergies, these toothpastes abrade the teeth and can create fine scratches on the teeth surface which predispose them to further accumulation and adhesion of microbial plaque.

3- May scaling results in enamel loss and teeth damage?

Scaling has a damaging effect on the enamel. The only impact is sensitivity to cold and heat that may occur after scaling. Most people mistakenly think that the enamel is abraded.

4- Is scaling accompanied by pain and does it require anesthesia?

Scaling with ultrasound or manual devices is associated with slight pain in people with healthy gums. But in people with gum disease, scaling is usually associated with gum bleeding, pain, and discomfort. Pain is often tolerable and does not require anesthesia.

5- Does scaling whiten the teeth?

Scaling only removes the plaques and the teeth color does not change at all. It can only help whiten the teeth. For teeth brightening and whitening, they should undergo bleaching at the same time.

6- Can scaling be performed on composite, laminated, or implanted teeth?

Yes, scaling can be performed on composite veneers, laminates, and dental implants. However, great care and skill is required for their scaling, because they are more sensitive to damage than the original teeth. In this regard, you should visit a prestigious and known dentist. In addition, scaling these teeth is more expensive than original teeth.

7- Can the teeth be scaled with a laser?

Yes, laser scaling is the best method for scaling. It is a rapid scaling method and very effective in improving the gums inflammation.

8- Can the teeth be scaled at home?

Scaling at home using natural materials cannot substitute dentistry. Proper use of toothbrush and fluoride-containing toothpaste, flossing, chewing, fruit and vegetable consumption, and gargling with mouthwash and hydrogen peroxide solution and avoiding smoking and alcohol can definitely help keep your teeth healthy.

Dr Abdolreza Jamilian Orthodontist

About Dr Abdolreza Jamilian Orthodontist

Dr. Jamilian, an orthodontist, has a specialized fellowship in orthodontic surgery and maxillofacial abnormalities and is a professor in the orthodontics department of the Dentistry School of the Islamic Azad University. He is member of Iranian and European Board of Orthodontics (EBO) and is a member of the Iranian, American and European Orthodontists Association.

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