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.
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.
What is the procedure?
Scaling involves a deep cleaning of the tooth above and below the gum line in order removes any plaque and calculus that has accumulated on the tooth. This involves the use of special instruments and/or devices to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth. Commonly an ultrasonic machine is used. It has a fine tip which vibrates at ultrasonic frequency and which dislodges tartar and plaque from the tooth surface. As the vibrations are extremely fine the process does not damage the tooth surface in any way.
Many dentists recommend having the teeth professionally cleaned at least every 6 to 12 months. More frequent cleaning and examination may be necessary during the treatment of many of the dental/oral disorders. Routine examination of the teeth is recommended at least every six months.
How does the treatment look like?
Scaling cleans the teeth to remove deposits above and below the gumline. Root planing smooths rough root surfaces so the gum can heal. Local anesthesia may be used. Oral Irrigation directs anti-microbial (anti-plaque) liquid below the gumline to flush out and kill germs to allow the regeneration of healthy tissue.
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.
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.
Professional teeth hygiene: APS – Air Polishing System
What is Air Polishing System?
APS is a professional hygiene procedure, which aim is to clean the teeth from the cavity and sediment by using air. Air-polishing devices (APDs) are highly effective in removing plaque and extrinsic staining. Their application on root surfaces, however, may result in clinically relevant substance removal, limiting the use in patients with periodontitis, where denuded root surfaces are frequently found.
How does the procedure look like?
The angle of incidence of the spray jet should be 60-90 degrees relative to the longitudinal axis of the tooth. The powder container contains sufficient powder for professional tooth cleaning. Compressed air is supplied to the handpiece via the multi flex coupling. When the foot control is pressed, compressed air flows into the powder container. It mixes uniformly with the powder, and the mixture flows to the exit of the cannula.
At the same time, the water – strictly separated from air and powder – is fed to the exit. There, the water sheath surrounds the powder/air mixture. Two non-return valves prevent the mixture from flowing back to the multi flex coupling.
What are the indications for use?
- General post-scaling prophylaxis
- Cleaning of fissures, even deep ones
- Interproximal cleaning
- Tooth preparation prior to etching
- Neutralisation of acid before other dental procedures
- Removal of temporary cement residues
- Surface cleaning (for exact tooth colour determination prior to selection from shade guide)
- Cleaning of bands and brackets directly inside the mouth
- Tooth cleaning prior to fluoridation