Scaling and cleaning


gum-disease

What is scaling and cleaning?

  • Scaling – Using a instrument called a scaler (automatic or manual) to vibrate or scrape off the calcified bacteria called calculus off.
  • Cleaning – Part of the treatment where we use our electric toothbrush to help you brush and polish your teeth.

 

I clean my teeth quite well thank you! Why would I need another one by a dentist?

We build up plaque (aka bacteria) over time. But some of the bacteria that builds up are calcified by our saliva (these are called calculus) which sticks to the teeth, are very chalky and can contribute to bad breath and gum diseases – and that’s the problematic bacteria which you can’t clean by yourself properly!

 

What instruments do you use to clean my teeth?

We use a scaler similar to this picture. It shoots out water and vibrates as fast as an F1 engine:

Ultrasonic instruments

Standard ultrasonic handpiece, squirts like a hose and vibrates like an F1. Credit: http://www.oralanswers.com/

It’s a really nifty device as it cleans the calculus off your teeth WITHOUT damaging it.
Otherwise, if your teeth is very sensitive to the cold water (it happens) we can use these instruments called a hand-scalers.

Hand scalers by Hu-Friedy

The older generation calls these the “scrapers”. That’s what we do…scrap calculus off for you to save you time to differentiate it. Image from https://www.hu-friedy.com/

The scraping sound doesn’t sound nice and it feels weird, but it’s better than having sensitivity and pain associated with it.

 

How often do I need to have my teeth cleaned?

It depends – some people accumulate their plaque fast, some people less fast. The usual time for a good clean is around every 6 months in conjunction with your general check up.

 

Why does it hurt when I have my teeth cleaned?

This is because your gums are swollen due to the heavy accumulation of plaque and bacteria (we call this acute inflammation). This increases the sensitivity of your nerve cells surrounding your gums making it more sensitive to . When your gums are not swollen you won’t feel your gums hurting when we scale and clean your teeth.

Gingivitis

What an inflamed gums look like, see how it looks red and swollen. Image from http://www.mayoclinic.org/

What are some of the benefits of having my teeth cleaned?

  • Preventing gum disease (this is a big benefit) with regular cleans.
  • Can reduce or eliminate your bad breath (halitosis)
  • Reduce your bacteria load which can minimize the number of fillings needed!
  • Mandatory if you are having any sort of braces or having any dental treatment done!

 

I’m good to go! Where next?

Contact your local dentist for a cleaning if you haven’t had one for a while, most of us should have a recall system where we will remind you to have one done. Alternatively if you want me to see you personally click here to contact us and we will arrange a time for you to have your teeth checked and cleaned!