Dental scaling and polishing is very important and should be done at least once every six months. Some people are at greater risk of developing tartar, which is due to saliva density, and should consider having it done more regularly. However, this is something your dental professional will discuss with you.
What Is a Dental Cleaning?
During a dental cleaning or scaling process, the plaque and dental tartar is removed from your teeth. Because your teeth are always covered in saliva, they are exposed to calcium and other products that are designed to protect the teeth. However, it also means that we usually end up with too much calcium on our teeth, which then builds up to levels that are no longer healthy. If it continues to accumulate, bacteria will be able to set up home there and start to affect the gums. Dental scaling and polishing removes all of this, so bacteria no longer have a welcome host, protecting your teeth. Although you will need to go to a dentist every six months, you can also do a lot of the polishing at home yourself.
Dental scaling is also known as prophylaxis, which means “to prevent before it happens”. Basically, it is designed to stop gum disease from happening. Various specialized tools are used in this process.
The Tools Used During Dental Scaling Procedure
Firstly, the dentist or oral hygienist will use an ultrasonic instrument. This loosens the larger pieces of tartar. Whilst doing this, a cooling mist is sprayed at the same time, which keeps your mouth at the right temperature and washes away all the debris. A lot of people are scared of this instrument because of its noise, but it is actually completely painless. Sometimes, you will need to come back for further ultrasonic cleaning, particularly if you haven’t been to the dentist in a long time.
It is also possible that they will use a number of fine hand tools. These include curettes and the dental scaling tool. They are needed to get rid of the very small pieces of tarter and they also smooth the surface of the tooth. They are shaped in such a way that they actually match the shape of the tooth. Essentially, they are used to scrap off any debris still left in place.
Then, they will get to the dental polishing. This is done with a soft rubber cup tool, which spins when in use. The cup is covered in prophylaxis paste, which is just like toothpaste only grittier, and this spins around on the teeth. The result is a beautiful, smooth and shiny smile.
Fear of the Dentist
Many of us have a big fear of the dentist and don’t go for our six-monthly check-ups because we worry it will hurt. However, dental scaling and polishing is completely painless. You will feel some scraping, but this does not hurt at all, other than feeling weird. If you manage to get over your fears, you may just end up being one of those people that actually enjoys it.
Furthermore, if you ever feel uncomfortable, you can just tell your dentist and they will stop straight away. In fact, if you mention that you are worried and anxious, they may recommend the procedure is done over multiple visits, so as not to stress you out for extended periods of time. If you really are scared, they may even numb your gums (although numbing does hurt), or give you some nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to calm your nerves. Last but not least, you could use some topical numbing gels before, during or after the procedure.