It cannot be stressed enough how important scaling and polishing is!!
What is scaling and polishing ?
It is a term dentists and dental hygienists use for prophylaxis professional cleaning of the teeth and gum area.
Scaling– This is a professional method of cleaning your teeth in which the hard deposits are removed through an instrument called an ultrasonic scaler.
Polishing– This is a procedure conducted just after the process of scaling is over and is meant to make the tooth surface smooth.
Over a period of time, tartar is formed as the result of hardening of plaque layer.
What is plaque? It a sticky deposit on teeth in which bacteria proliferate.
Routine brushing is insufficient to remove the hard deposits stuck on your teeth. This is primarily because of the shape and the position of our teeth. The bristles of the brush cannot reach every corner of your mouth. Hence, you need to seek professional care like scaling to maintain your oral hygiene.
Another benefit of Scaling and Polishing is removal of stains. Superficial stains can be removed after a good session of dental clean up.
Why is polishing important ? Besides the nice feeling of a smooth glossed surface, polished tooth surface does not allow food particles to stick easily and reducing the chance of deposition.
Gingivitis/ Periodontitis is the inflammation of gingiva and periodontium respectively.
Summary : When plaque is formed around the teeth, beneath the gum surface, it causes inflammation and slowly the gums become red, they swell and bleed and little by little they get displaced and slowly even the bone starts to be affected and then we reach an irreversible stage and the teeth start becoming mobile in other words they begin to move and eventually FALL OFF
Please see image below for illustration
stages of gum disease
Gum disease begins when plaque, a sticky deposit on the teeth where bacteria multiply, builds up on the teeth. Calcium from saliva hardens the plaque into a barnacle-like material — this calcified plaque is called tartar or calculus. Certain types of germs that live in this plaque and calculus damage gum tissue. Your body tries to fight this infection with an inflammatory attack, sending white blood cells to the area to destroy the bacteria. The inflammation then causes the tissue to bleed easily when you brush or floss.
If untreated, gingivitis will then progress to periodontitis. With periodontitis, calculus deposits expand on the surface of your teeth, edging down below your gum line. This condition causes your gums to separate slightly from the teeth, supporting bone and ligament, forming periodontal pockets. The infection and the pockets may continue to deepen, eating away at the jawbone until your teeth become loose and fall out.
So Scaling and polishing makes way for healthy gums healthy periodontium . Healthy and infection-free gums anchor and support the teeth strongly within the jaws.
Cure to bad breath
Clean teeth and gums keep bad breath at bay. Those of you who feel that you are suffering from low confidence level due to bad breath, you can find immense relief after scaling and polishing is done for your teeth.
Very Important before starting many dental procedures such as Orthodontic treatment, whitening, major oral surgeries, fillings, because the products will not adhere to a dirty surface and to reduce inflammation/ infection. Hence scaling and polishing is mandatory.
Other benefits of scaling and polishing
It’s good for your heart –
There have been countless studies performed on the correlation between a person’s oral and overall health. Gingivitis and gum disease have a direct effect on your cardiovascular well-being. Your risk of heart diseases, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and many other life-threatening illnesses can be greatly reduced by simply removing the tartar which acts as the cause factors for so many of these debilitating diseases.
It will save you money.
Taking good care of your teeth and mouth at home and by visiting the dentist or hygienist regularly, will save you thousands of rupees/ Euro / dollars or more over your lifetime. Regular cleanings by your doctor help prevent cavities, but more importantly identify cavities or caries at an early stage. Taking care of a small cavity can be a easy and simple procedure and is cheap. Left untreated inevitably will lead to unwanted complications including; infection, root canal treatment, tooth loss. All unpleasant outcomes that are very expensive to remedy.
How is it done
While some dentists still rely on manual instruments to scrape away the tartar, manual scaling can be more detrimental to enamel in comparison to ultrasonic technology. Modern dental offices today use ultrasonic instruments for maximum precision, more effective removal of tartar and calculus, and overall better patient comfort as well as quicker treatment. The procedure can take anywhere from one to four visits to complete, with or without the help of local anesthetic. The number of scaling sessions required and the amount of time required is individualized depending on each patient’s specific needs.
Is it painful?
Modern dentistry strives to be as painless as possible. In my practice I use a gel which is a topical anesthetic which has a berry taste, making the experience less uncomfortable. If the pockets are deep on the other hand, anesthesia will be injected after numbing the site with the gel.
Also if your enamel is thin, or you have exposed dentin, that might cause some sensitivity .
Regular dental teeth cleaning and polishing is the cornerstone for a lifetime of dental health and the best insurance you can have for keeping a healthy and attractive smile!
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Frequency of dental cleanings?
Depending on the proliferation of plaque in the mouth due to certain factors like hormones, age, cigarettes , intake of sugary food and poor oral hygiene (no floss etc) , your doctor will let you know on a case to case basis how often you should go. As a rule of thumb it is recommended to visit your dental surgeon every 6 months , if however we find that the plaque is under control , we will tell you to come back within a year.
Dr Tunesha Mohabeer