Consultant, Orthodontist, Centre for Advanced Dentistry, New Delhi
What is scaling?
Dental health is an important part of your general health. Whatever your age, you can and should have healthy teeth. Correct dental care can help you keep your teeth healthy for a lifetime. Scaling is one such procedure that keeps your gums healthy and firm. It is a procedure used to remove infected deposits like plaque, calculus and stains from the tooth surfaces. Such deposits, if not removed by scaling, cause infection and loosening of the gums, ultimately leading to pyorrhoea and tooth loss. Scaling is a safe and routine procedure and does not damage the tooth surface in any way. It must be done by a dental professional.
What is a plaque?
Dental plaque is a soft, sticky, colorless film of bacteria and food particles that constantly forms on the teeth. The bacteria colonize and multiply rapidly in this film and initiate infection in the gums, often resulting in tender bleeding gums. If dental plaque is not removed within 10-14 hours by brushing, it mineralizes into calculus or tartar. Calculus once formed cannot be removed by brushing and has to be removed by scaling by a dentist.
Why is scaling done?
Regular tooth cleaning by the dentist is important to remove calculus or tartar that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing. Professional cleaning includes scaling and polishing. Scaling is a common non-surgical treatment for removal of infected deposits - tartar or calculus - from the tooth surface. These deposits if not removed lead to periodontal disease. In periodontal disease, the pocket between the tooth and gum begins to deepen. This provides a perfect environment for anaerobic bacteria to grow. The bacteria begin to multiply rapidly and infect more of the gum and start dissolving the bone supporting the tooth. This leaves the tooth progressively loose. The treatment now becomes more extensive and complicated in order to save the tooth. Surgery of the gums is required in order to make the tissues around the tooth healthy.
How frequently should scaling be done?
Plaque formation on the teeth is a continuous process. If this is not removed by brushing it starts mineralizing into tartar within 10-14 hours. Such persons may require periodic scaling, every 6 months or so. The golden rule is to have a routine dental check up every 6 months. Your dentist will be able to advise you whether you need scaling or not. He will also advise you on the correct home care for healthy teeth. It must be emphasized again that scaling of teeth does not weaken them but prevents gum diseases which bring about bleeding gums and if not checked leading to more serious and extensive gum problems.
What is the outcome?
Good oral hygiene prevents, and is vital to the treatment of many of the dental and oral disorders. Good oral hygiene results in a healthy mouth. Moreover, the mouth is the gateway to the whole body. a healthy mouth ensures a healthy body to a great extent.