What is scaling and polishing
Do I still need scaling and polishing if I brush and floss daily ?
We use our teeth to enjoy a lot of food and drink everyday. No matter how well you clean your teeth there will be some hard to reach areas that are difficult to keep clean. The plaque that accumulate in these area might hardened by absorbing calcium and phosphate in our saliva. This form a hard whitish/yellowish deposit called calculus or tartar. Once formed, tartar cannot be removed by brushing alone. More plaque can build up around the tartar and it gets thicker. The bacteria and their toxic secretion in the tartar will cause inflammation of the gum and even bone recession.
Therefore, we recommend professional cleaning which is known as scaling and polishing at dental clinic every 6 months to prevent gum disease.
How it is done ?
After a thorough oral examination, our dentist will first remove the tartar and plaque using an ultrasonic device. The vibrating tip (18-30kHz, 18,000-30,000 vibration/second) will loosen the hard deposit without damaging the tooth structure. An ultrasonic field comprising of series of compression (high pressure) and rarefaction (low pressure) generate small bubbles. The shockwave formed from these bubbles can disrupt bacterial cell wall and kill them. This is called cavitation effect. Our dentist will use gentle technique and precise handling to make sure patient feel minimal discomfort during the cleaning process.
Next, our dentist will gently polish the teeth with a rotating brush to make the surface smooth. The minor patches of rough texture which contain plaque and stain will be removed, leaving bright and shiny tooth surface that protect against plaque recolonization.
What to expect after scaling and polishing ?
You can eat or drink straight away after routine scaling and polishing. Our dentist might advise you to delay eating/drinking if fluoride therapy was done after scaling.
If you haven’t get your teeth cleaned at dentist for some time and there is a thick layer of tartar formed, you might expect some “gaps” between the teeth and gum after the procedure. Mild sensitivity to hot/cold can occur if the root dentine is exposed after scaling (previously covered by tartar). Don’t worry, the gum will healed and fill in those gaps. Then, the sensitivity will usually disappear after few days. You can use desensitizing toothpaste such as Sensodyne Rapid Relief or Colgate Sensitive Pro Relief to help alleviate the symptoms. However, heavy calculus build-up happen too frequently, it might cause irreversible damage to the gum, leading to loose tooth and gum disease.
Read more about Professional Consultation
Read more about Gum Disease
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