Dental scaling is a type of cosmetic dentistry procedure for patients with excessive plaque buildup and periodontal disease. Dental scaling is basically a type of dental cleaning that goes beyond addressing the tooth surface. Dental scaling, also referred to as deep cleaning, goes much deeper beyond general cleaning and involves cleaning below the gum line to get rid of plaque or bacterial buildup.
Dental scaling and root planning always go together as one procedure and is usually referred to as non-surgical or conventional periodontal therapy.
At one time or the other, everybody has experienced some form of plaque buildup. The proteins, bacteria, and saliva in your mouth would have formed a thin layer that covers the teeth. Sugar, food chunks, and acids from the food we eat may stick to this thin layer to create a plaque buildup.
The bacteria in this plaque release acids and by-products that can cause periodontal disease and dental caries. Proper oral hygiene practices like brushing and flossing twice daily and undergoing regular periodontal curette can help to remove the plaque buildup and prevent more serious dental problems.
Normally, healthy gum tissues fit tightly around the teeth and prevent plaque buildup. But if the periodontal disease begins to form, the gum tissues will loosen and deeper sockets will begin to develop at the gum line. When these sockets are filled with plaque, patients may begin to experience symptoms of a periodontal disease, such as:
- A change in bite
- Shifting of the permanent teeth
- Bad breath
- Red, inflamed, or tender gums
- Bleeding gums
As more bacteria grow in the socket, it becomes more difficult for teeth brushing at home to reach within the socket. That is why flossing regularly is also recommended. If periodontal disease at the gingivitis level is left untreated, it will worsen into chronic periodontal disease, which will lead to:
- Moving teeth
- Loose teeth
- Tooth loss
- Bone and tissue loss
In such a case, your dentist may suggest dental scaling to get rid of the plaque buildup underneath the gum line so as to treat the periodontal disease.
Dental Scaling Procedures
Like stated above, dental scaling is the careful removal of bacteria and plaque buildup from the tooth just below the gum line. It is an outpatient procedure and is always done at the dentist’s office.
There are basically two methods of dental scaling. The dentist can either use periodontal curette and dental scaler to scrape off the plaque buildup from the tooth’s gum line or use an ultrasonic instrument or laser for the dental scaling. The first method involves inserting the periodontal curette, which is a thin tool, underneath the gum line to access and remove the plaque from the tooth part where a toothbrush can’t reach. The second method involves using a vibrating metal tip combined with a cool water spray together with the ultrasonic instrument. The vibrating metal tip chips away the plaques and tartar from the teeth and the water flush them out of the pocket.
Once the dental scaling is completed, the next process is root planing. Root planning involves smoothing your teeth roots so as to help the gums to reattach to your teeth.
Depending on the health of your gums and teeth, your dentist may prescribe additional dental treatment, such as oral antibiotics or antimicrobial agents, which will help to heal the spot faster.
What Does Dental Scaling Procedure Feel Like?
The dental scaling procedures cause a level of discomfort, so your dentist should administer local anesthetic to lessen the discomfort, especially if you have sensitive gums. Also, dental scaling requires several visits to the dental office. Some dentists may divide the dental scaling procedure into four parts, while other dentists may perform the procedure in just two parts. Whichever, it is important that you ask your dentist about the dental scaling procedure suitable for you.
What to Expect After Dental Scaling Procedure?
After the dental scaling procedure, you may feel sensitive and sore in your mouth. You may experience bleeding or swelling for a few days after the dental scaling. Your dentist may recommend desensitizing toothpaste for you to lessen the discomfort and prescription mouth rinse to keep your gums clean.
It is very important that you follow good oral hygiene practices, such as brushing your teeth at least two times a day and flossing regularly, after the procedure to prevent plaque buildup again in the same areas. You must also eat a healthy and balanced diet.
Your dentist would also schedule a second dental visit to examine your gums, ensure that your mouth is healing properly, and to measure the depth of your gum pockets. If after the dental scaling, the gum pockets are getting deeper, you may have to undergo additional dental treatment options.
You may be placed on a periodontal maintenance cleaning schedule and have to return to your dentist every three to four months for regular cleanings and bi-annually for standard dental cleanings.
Benefits of Dental Scaling
Teeth scaling procedure is considered as the best dental treatment for chronic periodontal disease. According to reports, dental scaling helps to improve the pocket gap between the teeth and gums by about 0.5 millimeters. Reducing this pocket gap reduces your risk of getting chronic periodontal disease.
If you experience any of the following after the dental scaling procedure, call your dentist as soon as possible:
- Worsening pain, or
- If the affected area does not heal up as expected
Like stated above, you may experience sensitivity, gum tenderness, pain, or other side effects for a few days after the dental scaling procedure. However, these should stop within a few weeks. Otherwise, contact your dentist immediately.
Dental scaling is a common procedure for treating chronic periodontal disease. Dental scaling can also be used as a prophylaxis to prevent periodontal disease. It is an outpatient dental procedure that must be performed at the dentist’s office either with or without local anesthesia.
Do you have any questions related to dental scaling? Don’t hesitate to contact s today. Our dental specialists are available 24/7.