Is scaling bad for teeth?

Scaling is a regular dental procedure that removes plaque and calculus from teeth. There are many myths that say, ‘scaling is bad for teeth’. There might be a some side effects which appear in small group of people who have weakened teeth.

In this article we’ll discuss some myths related to scaling and few side effects of this procedure.

1. Scaling causes sensitivity:

Scaling causes sensitivity in some patients but it only takes two to four weeks to recover from it. This is normal healing phase of enamel layer present on teeth. Patients usually feel sensitivity to hot and cold substances on root portion.

Root doesn’t have enamel. So during procedure, if calculus and plaque is present sub gingival on root portion of teeth, it has to be removed with dental instruments. Contact between dental instruments and root can lead to sensitivity for few days.

Gums usually get detached from tooth surface after sub gingival cleansing of teeth. In 5-6 days, it gets back to its original place. So, patient might feel hot and cold eatables during these few days.

2. Teeth can fall easily after scaling:

It’s one big myth related to cleaning of teeth at dental clinic that teeth become weak to fall out easily after scaling. Scaling is a regular dental procedure which cleans the surfaces of tooth structures. It doesn’t affect the PDL fibres which attach tooth to bone.

Patients might feel a slight looseness on teeth because of removal of calcified structure. During cleaning of teeth, calcified deposits known as calculus which gave extra support to teeth, is removed beneath gums. So, patients feel slight different after cleansing of teeth.

3. Scaling causes pain:

Scaling is not a painful procedure. During whole procedure, you’ll feel vibration and tingling sensation due to vibrating dental instruments. Your dentist might anaesthetise gums and teeth before the procedure after examining and observing the conditions.

If calculus is present sub gingival in huge amount, the operator will not perform treatment without anaesthesia. Because deposits have to be scraped off from root below the gums. Patient’s cooperation is also a big factor in administering anaesthesia.

4. Scaling creates gaps between teeth:

Calculus is a calcified structure present between teeth. During scaling, it gets scrapped off from inter proximal surfaces present between the teeth. Patient feel gaps because of absence of calcified deposits between teeth.

It’s a normal gap that depicts how you’ll feel if there is no calcified deposits present between teeth. There is no movement of teeth present between teeth during scrubbing and scrapping of teeth by ultrasonic scalers.

5. Scaling causes gum bleeding:

Gum bleeding is normal during scaling. It only takes 24 hours to 3 days to heal gums properly. Also gums have been detached from root. So it might take more than 3 days for complete recovery of the procedure.

Bleeding occurs because of detachment to remove calculus present below the gingiva. Gum recession isn’t a side effect of scaling. It’s also a big myth that gums will start to recede after cleaning by a dentist with dental instruments.

Side Effects of Scaling:

There are few side effects of scaling.

1. Sensitivity:

Sensitivity is a very common side effect of scaling observed in most of the patients. Sensitivity doesn’t last very longer unless patient’s enamel has already been thinned due to some external factors. People have teeth with different density.

Some have already weak structures. Normal dental procedures like scaling causes pain in them. Manual scaling should be preferable option in those patients. Vibrations’ that ultrasonic scalers create, are very fast which can be the leading cause of sensitivity.

2. Nerve Damage:

In very rare cases, cleaning procedures can damage nerve present underneath tooth structures and gum. Patient will feel numbness without anaesthesia if operator has caused some damage to it.

If you’ve felt any kind of discomfort or sharp pain during scaling, ask your dentist to stop the procedure as instruments may have caused some sort of nerve damage. Branches of inferior alveolar nerve is present in mandibular arch.

Precautionary measures after scaling:

There are some precautionary measures that have to be taken by patient after scaling is done. Otherwise, chances of caries will increase because now, more area has been cleared out. Food can stuck in those clean interproximal spaces.

1. Use dental floss daily:

Use dental floss daily to clean interproximal areas present between teeth. Make this your habit. When interproximal areas don’t get cleaned out, food debris present between the tooth structures can lead to interproximal caries.

2. MouthWash:

Use mouthwash everyday when you brush your teeth. Ask your dentist before using it. He might not recommend it in some patients depending upon the conditions inside oral cavity. Don’t buy mouthwash with high alcohol intake as it’ll cause burning sensation.

3. Brush your teeth twice a day:

Don’t ever forget to brush your teeth twice a day. Chances of plaque and calculus accumulation increases after scaling. Food will stick to surfaces even more because of clear interproximal areas. Daily floss and brush your teeth with recommended toothpaste.

4. Medications:

Your dentist might recommend you some tablets after scaling depending upon gums conditions. Sometimes, during removal of sub gingival calculus, gums get damaged a little bit. So, the dentist will prescribe pain reliever and anti inflammatory drugs to heal gums in short time.

How scaling is done?

Scaling might be a little uncomfortable for some patients but most of the time it just causes vibrational sensation. Patient’s gums will be anaesthetised before starting the procedure to prevent any kind of pain by dental instruments.

There are two kinds of how scaling is done. Manual scaling is done by simple instruments including peri scaler, scaler to clean interproximal area, and CPITN probe. It requires force from a dentist as hard calcified deposits have to be removed by these static instruments

Second type of scaling is done by ultrasonic instruments. Ultrasonic scalers vibrate very fast. This fast vibrational movement of instruments dislodge and break the stony hard calcified structures on teeth. Ultrasonic scaling is time saving.

When do you need scaling?

Patient needs scaling when there is calculus deposits apparent on teeth. Patient who is diagnosed with periodontitis or gingivitis must go for scaling otherwise, condition will get worse.

Some patient do have bad breath because of calculus and plaque accumulation. They should go for proper cleaning procedures. Maintain oral hygiene by following Post Op. instructions given by the dentist not to get bad breath again.

Deep pockets require scaling. Your dentist will examine the pockets depth by dental probe. If it’s more than 4mm, he should go for deep cleaning procedures. Untreated conditions like these can cause some serious problems.

What happens if left untreated?

Untreated periodontal diseases can lead to deep pockets which will affect PDL fibres present between bone and tooth structures. PDL fibres hold teeth at their place. Once PDL gets affected, it loosen the teeth increasing the chances of tooth fall.

What is Root Planing?

Root planing is just like scaling. Calculus is removed from cementum layer of teeth to produce clean, smooth and and clear root surface. After root planing, patient might feel sensitivity because cementum is not that hard as compared to enamel.

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