What is scaling? Definition, types of scaling, utility
Scaling and root planing or the detartring procedure is a dental work that removes the bacterial plaque (soft deposition of bacteria) and tartar (calcification of the bacterial plaque) from the surface of teeth or dental work.
The scaling can be done in 3 variants:
- ultrasonic scaling;
- manually scaling;
- scaling air-flow;
Every type has its application, they are often used in complex, for optimum results and optimal dental health.
Ultrasound scaling is the most common dental procedure in the category. Ultrasounds are a range of mechanical vibrations with extremely high frequencies (25,000 – 42,000 Hz) that fragment and mobilize tartar, while a water jet cleans the fragments and avoids overheating of the tooth. Ultrasound scaling is effective against supragingival tartar (on the visible surface of the teeth).
Manual scaling involves physician intervention with a series of manual dental instruments. It is often combined with ultrasonic scaling, as it provides contact with areas harder to reach (between teeth and under the gums). Combined with mild local anesthesia (sprayed with lidocaine or a superficial injection), hand scraping does not hurt. Minor bleeding is possible, which is absolutely normal and should not worry.
The airflow scaling is rather an auxiliary method, being less used by itself. However, airflow scaling is perfect in completing the above-mentioned types or, for example, less than 6 months after an ultrasound scaling session before bleaching or other dental surgery.
Scaling is a compulsory procedure? How does the scaling help?
Initial bacterial plaque formation takes about 2 hours after bacteria begin to multiply in the oral cavity and tooth surface. Exactly – the bacterial plaque is already beginning to develop, just two hours after a meal or even after intense teeth cleaning (not killing 100% of the bacteria). Two days after the show, the board is already doubling its table. Within 3 weeks, the “family” of microbes stabilizes, and within 30 days the mature bacterial plaque is established. These data show well enough how important daily and complex intervention is to oral microflora to disrupt the process of creating the bacterial plaque then the tartar (when the critical pH is reached, the bacterial plate begins to mineralize and turns into a bacterial plaque, a hard surface, impossible to remove with the toothbrush).
And to understand how easily tartar occurs, even in the context of using the toothbrush twice a day, learn that subgingival tartar can already be detected in 9-year-old children. After the age of 40 years, completely calcified dental tartar can be found in 47-100% of the analyzed cases. Since the complete period of stabilization of the tartar is 4-6 months, the detartring procedure is recommended once in half a year.
Both the formation of bacterial plaque and dental plaque are inevitable. They can be slowed down by using daily toothbrushes as well as by using mouthwash (which more effectively kills bacteria on the tongue and teeth). The dental floss also comes to its aid, eliminating the hardly accessible particles for the toothbrush. But even with strict adherence to dental hygiene rules, once a 6-month procedure is mandatory – it will eliminate the bacterial layer developed despite hygienic measures and prevent a range of diseases (both dental, periodontitis and general – digestive tract infections, heart disease, etc.).
Advantages and disadvantages of dental scaling (detartring)
The advantages of this dental procedure are unquestionable and deserve to be publicized because a number of pre-conceived myths and opinions often prevent patients from using a dentist and resort to this absolutely necessary procedure.
Compliance with hygiene rules and periodic scaling have a number of benefits:
- Scaling prevents chronic gingivitis, periodontitis, greatly diminishes the unpleasant smell of breathing and the risk of rapid development of dental caries;
- Scaling removes the unhealthy environment for surgery, dental extraction or prosthetic and orthodontic treatment – is recommended before any other dental surgery for an optimal outcome;
- Scaling bleeds superficial teeth – potentiates the effect of dental aesthetic procedures and is also indicated as a pre-dental whitening procedure for patients who want a truly visible result;
- Scaling prolongs the life of teeth and dental work – tartar forms on any solid surface of the oral cavity, and the myth of enamel damage in the process is absolutely groundless (scaling is a non-invasive procedure).
Disadvantages are minimal and temporary:
- Minor bleeding is possible, usually after a dissection session in the event of major inflammation (there is no real dental danger, just a discomfort);
- There may be a sensitivity that disappears shortly after the dental procedure itself;
- There is also some contraindications (temporary majority) that should be discussed in advance with your dentist.
How do you know if you need scaling (detartring)?
There are a number of reasons to use this procedure consistently. And yet, how do you determine when you need it? Here are some indications.
- It has been more than 6 months since the last detart or you have never used this procedure;
- You feel that daily dental hygiene is no longer sufficient to remove tooth residue;
- You are a smoker or stain on the surface of your teeth, you would like a dental bleaching procedure, but you want the results to be truly visible and lasting;
- You want to use other dental services (filling, dental prosthesis or implants) and keep you impeccable;
- You want to save considerable on dental services, preventing a range of dental conditions.
If you have any further questions or want to talk personally with a qualified dentist to find out what procedures might be useful to you, you are welcome to the Imperial Dent dental clinic for free consultation.