Tartar and plaque can wreak havoc on your teeth and cause untold problems with your entire mouth. Unfortunately, these two substances can be challenging to remove using common cleaning practices. Even professional dental hygienists may not be able to completely eliminate all tartar with a routine visit, and that is when something called dental scaling is recommended. To find out what to expect with this dental procedure, read on.
How Bad Are Tartar and Plaque?
These two sticky substances can adhere stubbornly to teeth, but they may be particularly resistant to removal near the gum line and just below that gums. Plaque forms from different types of bacteria, food particles, and saliva. Plaque acts like acid on the enamel of your teeth to damage their strength. Cavities can then follow. When plaque is not removed, it hardens and becomes tartar using the minerals in your saliva to harden on your teeth and gums. When tartar is present, gum disease will often follow. Gum diseases can cause serious, permanent, and even life-threatening issues. While a lot of plaque can be prevented and removed with daily brushing and flossing, tartar is another matter.
What is Dental Scaling (And Does It Hurt?)
It sounds invasive and painful, but dental scaling doesn't have to hurt. If not for the numbing anesthetic, scaling might be considered a bit uncomfortable. If you have dental anxiety, don't let that stop you from having this important procedure performed. Talk to your dentist about a prescription for something to relax you before the procedure begins. If you've experienced having a tooth filled, then dental scaling is not much different – at least from the patient's point of view. Once your mouth is completely numb, the dentist will use one of two methods to remove tartar from the teeth. Using either manual dental instruments or ultrasonic means, the dentist will chip away at the hard build-up to gradually remove all traces of tartar.
What Else to Know About Dental Scaling
- While quite a lot of tartar can be removed in a single visit, return visits may be a possibility. Your comfort during the procedure and how much tartar needs to be removed will determine the number of visits.
- You can expect your gums to be a bit sore after the procedure. Some swelling and irritation are perfectly normal and you may be instructed by your dentist to take some over-the-counter pain relievers for discomfort.
- You may want to stay away from hard-to-chew foods and very hot or very cold foods and drinks for a few days until your sensitivity calms down.
The cavities caused by plaque and the periodontal diseases caused by tartar are nothing to mess around with. Speak to a local dentist to find out more.