What is dental scaling and polishing?
Dental scaling( cleaning) involves removal of plaque (soft, sticky, bacteria infested film) and tartar (calculus) deposits that have built up on the teeth over time. Usually it is tooth colored and can easily be mistaken as part of the teeth, but it also can vary from brown to black in color.
If the scale, or calculus is allowed to accumulate on the teeth it will harbor bacteria that damages gums (which is one of the most common cause for teeth loss). The purpose of the cleaning and polishing is basically to leave the surfaces of the teeth clean and smooth so that bacteria are unable to stick to them and you have a better chance of keeping the teeth clean during your regular home care.
The professional cleaning of teeth is sometimes referred to as prophylaxis , it helps to prevent gum disease.
How is dental cleaning done?
The dental hygienist or dentist uses specialized ultra sonic instrument to gently remove these deposits without harming the teeth.
Commonly used first is an ultrasonic instrument which uses tickling vibrations to knock larger pieces of tartar loose. It also sprays a cooling mist of water while it works to wash away debris and keep the area at a proper temperature. The device typically emits a humming or high pitched whistling sound.
The ultrasonic instrument tips are curved and rounded and are always kept in motion around the teeth. They are by no means sharp since their purpose is to knock tartar loose and not to cut into the teeth. It is best to inform the operator if the sensations are too strong or ticklish so that they can adjust the setting appropriately on the device or modify the pressure applied.
With larger deposits , it can take some time to remove the hard calculus, generally 2 sittings can be required to clean completely. One can go for oral prophylaxis (cleaning) once in a six months.
Once all the surfaces are smooth, the dentist may polish your teeth. Polishing is done using a slow speed hand piece with a soft rubber cup that spins on the end. Prophylaxis paste – a special gritty toothpaste-like material – is scooped up like ice cream into the cup and spun around on the teeth to make them shiny smooth.
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