Dental Scaling And Cleaning
Dental scaling and cleaning, often referred to as a dental prophylaxis, is a routine dental procedure aimed at maintaining oral health and preventing common dental issues. It involves the removal of plaque, tartar (calculus), and stains from the teeth.
- Plaque and Tartar Formation: Plaque is a soft, sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth after eating or drinking. If plaque is not removed through regular brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar, which is a hard, mineralized deposit that can't be removed with regular home oral care.
- The Procedure: Dental scaling and cleaning is typically performed by a dental hygienist or dentist. It involves the following steps:
Assessment: The dental professional will first assess the condition of your teeth and gums, looking for signs of gum disease or other dental issues.
Scaling: Using specialized instruments, the dental professional will carefully remove both plaque and tartar from the teeth, including above and below the gumline. This process might include both manual hand-scaling instruments and ultrasonic scalers.
Polishing: After scaling, the dental professional will often polish the teeth. This removes surface stains and leaves your teeth feeling smooth.
Prevention: Dental scaling and cleaning are essential for preventing dental problems. Removing plaque and tartar helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
Fresh Breath: It can help combat bad breath (halitosis) caused by bacterial buildup.
Improved Aesthetics: Polishing can help improve the appearance of your teeth by removing surface stains.
Early Detection: During the process, your dental professional can identify other dental issues that may need attention.
- Frequency: It is generally recommended to have a dental scaling and cleaning at least once every six months. However, your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend more frequent cleanings if you have specific dental conditions, such as periodontal disease.
- Aftercare: After the procedure, it's essential to maintain good oral hygiene practices at home, including regular brushing and flossing, to prevent plaque buildup.
- Pain and Discomfort: Dental scaling and cleaning are usually not painful. Some people might experience mild discomfort or sensitivity, particularly if they have sensitive teeth or gums. However, local anesthesia can be used if necessary.
- Insurance Coverage: Many dental insurance plans cover dental scaling and cleaning as a preventive service, but coverage can vary, so it's essential to check with your insurance provider.
Regular dental scaling and cleaning are fundamental for maintaining good oral health and preventing more severe dental issues. It's also an opportunity for your dentist to assess your oral health and provide guidance on proper oral hygiene practices.