Your Guide To Teeth Scaling

teeth scaling

You probably already heard or even had been recommended to have your teeth scaled. However, you don't know what it is and what benefits you can get from it. 

Teeth scaling, commonly known as deep cleaning, is a dental procedure that removes plaque, tartar, and bacteria from your tooth's surface and gumline. 

It promotes good oral health and prevents problems such as gum diseases or chronic halitosis (bad breath). 

In fact, according to recent data, a solid 64.1% of adults aged 18 and over made sure to get their pearly whites checked with a dental exam or cleaning in the past year. 

This statistic highlights the growing awareness of oral health among the population. While the procedure can cost anywhere from $400 to $4000, the price varies depending on the location and the extent of cleaning required.

Read further to learn more about this dental treatment.

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The Teeth Scaling Process

Dental scaling and root planing procedures are commonly performed by periodontists and dental hygienists.

Periodontists are dental professionals who prevent, diagnose, and treat any problem related to the surrounding teeth. On the other hand, dental hygienists are experts in removing tartar, plaque, and stains.

In typical cases, a dental hygienist is the one performing the procedure. However, if you have a gum disease that requires tooth scaling, a periodontist is the one who will conduct the procedure.

The process involves using a device called a scaler to scrape the plaque and tartar in your teeth. Then the spray on the scaler will flush the plaque on your gum pocket. Depending on your pain tolerance, this procedure may require anesthesia.

The process may take half an hour for those with good oral hygiene. However, if you have an extensive plaque or tartar build-up, it may take an hour or even require two to four hygienist appointments.

Benefits of Dental Scaling

 Is scaling your teeth necessary? The short answer is yes.

 Here are the reasons why you must undergo dental scaling:

  • Prevents gum disease
  • Helps avoid tooth decay and cavities
  • Improves oral hygiene
  • Promotes fresher breath and a whiter smile
  • Leads to good oral health

The benefits mentioned above are the reasons why dentists recommend scaling your teeth. Passing your opportunity to undergo professional dental cleaning can lead to even more significant problems that may cost you your teeth and money in the long run. Preventive measures such as tooth scaling can save you from further oral problems.

Seeing the importance and benefits of dental scaling, you probably are convinced of having one. But what are the things you should do before undergoing a dental scaling procedure?

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Preparing for Dental Scaling

girls smiling teeth scaling

Like any other dental treatment and procedure, dental scaling requires proper teeth preparation. It helps achieve the best result possible and avoid further complications. Expect significant changes. Having whiter teeth and fresher breath can be a bit strange but may all be worth it.

Pre-Scaling Instructions

Preparing yourself for tooth scaling can play a significant factor in the procedure’s overall result. If you’ve already decided to have your teeth scaled and are already set for your appointment, make sure to do the necessary pre-scaling preparation.

Here is the list of what you should do before undergoing dental scaling:

  • Brush and floss your teeth thoroughly.
  • Eat a light meal or even try to fast before the procedure.
  • Wear loose clothes to ensure your comfort during the procedure.
  • Discuss pain management options (i.e., numbing gel, local anesthesia, or relaxation technique) with your dentist to ensure your comfort during the procedure.

The Scaling Process in Detail

After doing all the necessary steps in preparing for your tooth scaling, it is just fitting to know the detailed process of what you are going through. Understanding the process can also help you prepare mentally.

Here are the steps to tooth scaling.

Step 1: Oral Assessment

Examining your teeth, gums, and oral health is vital before a deep cleaning procedure. In this stage, your dentist will assess the plaque build-up’s severity and see if you have gum problems. It may even require an X-ray to know the extent of plaque.

This step is also the part where your dentist will ask if you are experiencing any oral problems such as bleeding gums, sensitivity, and severe dental anxiety. This process can help the dental hygienist or dental professional devise a plan based on your oral needs.

Step 2: Application of topical or local anesthesia

The goal of anesthesia in this procedure is to help patients avoid discomfort and anxiety. This part of surgery may be optional, but it is often recommended, especially for those with low pain tolerance. Therefore, it’s important to consult your dentist regarding the use of anesthetics.

Step 3: Removal of the build-up

After applying the anesthesia, your dentist will use a scaler or ultrasonic devices to scrape the build-up (tartar or plaque and stain) on your teeth up to the gum line and even beneath your tooth roots, and periodontal pocket.

Step 4: Polishing of the teeth

When the build-up is gone, it leaves them with a rough surface that can cause discomfort. It is the reason it is vital to polish and smoothen your teeth. In addition, polishing can help your gums reattach to your teeth.

Step 5: Post-procedure check-up

It is still vital to do a post-procedure check-up to ensure the procedure’s success. Even though dental scaling poses a low risk, it is still better to ensure nothing goes wrong. This step also allows you to track the possible teeth and gum problems that may occur during the healing process.

*Note: These steps are only the general process you can expect. It may vary in some cases depending on different factors and you may need or require a unique dental scaling approach and plan.

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Customized Scaling Approaches 

dentist explaining

Every patient has unique oral problems and needs. It is why assessing and examining your oral health is vital for any dentist. They can create a specific plan based on your oral needs to ensure the success of any dental procedure.

It also goes with this procedure. A dental hygienist can customize scaling techniques based on your need and by considering several factors, such as the severity of plaque build-up, gum health, and patient preference.

They will present you with all your options and let you know the best scaling technique suitable for you. They will help you decide and choose your preferred approach. With this personalized treatment plan, you can be sure that all your concerns will be appropriately addressed.

When you have a minimal plaque build-up but with good oral health, scaling using a handheld dental scaler is the typical approach.

It usually takes one dental appointment to achieve the desired outcome. However, if you have an extensive plaque build-up and have signs of gum problems, it may require intensive scaling and root planing.

It may take multiple dental appointments and ultrasonic devices to efficiently remove the build-up and bacteria.

Personalized treatment plans contribute a lot to the procedure’s outcome. But without proper aftercare, an optimal result may not yet be guaranteed.

Post-Scaling Instructions

Your aftercare routine will also play a significant role in ensuring the success of your procedure.

That’s why we highly encourage our patients to follow these post-scaling aftercare instructions to help them optimize the effectiveness of the treatment:

  • Refrain from eating for at least two hours after the scaling or until the anesthesia wears off. 
  • Avoid smoking for 24-48 hours to ensure healthy healing of your gums. Tobacco can delay the healing of tissues. 
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water 2-3 times daily to soothe the discomfort and promote quick healing. Use one tablespoon of salt for every 3 ounces of water.
  • Use over-the-counter pain relievers such as Ibuprofen (Advil) or Tylenol if necessary. 
  • Avoid eating hard food such as chips, popcorn, and seeds for several days.
  • You can still floss and brush gently after the procedure. 
  • If you are feeling tooth sensitivity, you may use sensitivity toothpaste and fluoride rinse. Try to avoid cold food and drinks.

Deep cleaning is a procedure that poses little to no risk. However, sometimes, a patient might feel post-procedure discomforts, such as sore gums and cold or hot food sensitivity.

You don’t have to worry about this because it is normal. Such symptoms may only last for a few days to a week. If the sensitivity and soreness persist, it’s important to consult your dentist.

Remember that proper oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental check-up are indispensable practices in promoting good oral health.  

Preventive Dental Care in Culver City

When it comes to preventive dental care, Culver City Dentist United Dental Care stands out as the premier choice for exceptional dental expertise and care.

With a commitment to providing personalized treatment plans, we ensure optimal results and a comfortable experience for our patients.

If you live in Culver City or visit nearby areas such as Marina Del Rey, schedule your appointment with us today and take the first step towards improved oral hygiene and overall well-being.

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