What is Scaling?Scaling is the removal of hardened plaque, known as calculus or tartar. Plaque
is a naturally occurring substance, it is a blend of saliva and bacteria filled food debris. Plaque is constantly forming, and it settles on the surface of your teeth and along the rim of your gums. This is the material that is so important to remove through daily brushing and flossing while it is still soft and can easily be wiped away. If left in place, it then dries and hardens, and can not be easily removed. In fact, hardened plaque should only be removed by a professional hygienist to avoid damaging the enamel of your teeth. We can help.
Our hygienist uses a specialized tool known as an Ultrasonic Scaler. This tool blasts oxygenated bubbles in a steady stream at the teeth, loosening calculus buildup without damaging the enamel. We use this tool to remove a majority of the hardened plaque and then use a tool known as a hand scaler to remove any missed particles.
Why do I need tartar removed?Tartar and calculus decay our teeth. This is because it is filled with decay causing bacteria. In addition to decaying our teeth, tartar infects our soft gum tissue, causing gingivitis, and varying levels of periodontal disease. Ignoring these issues can be hazardous to your oral health, and can even lead to tooth loss.
What is Root Planing?After your teeth have been cleaned through scaling, the next step is root planing. When the gum tissue is infected, it will begin to pull away from the source of the infection, which unfortunately also includes pulling away from your teeth. We can help your gums reattach more firmly through root planing. This is the process of smoothing the roots. Using the hand scaler tool, we smooth out rough target areas of the root, which eliminates both plaque and biofilm development, decreasing the chance of bacteria settling on the roots again and allowing the gums to reattach to the tooth.
Is scaling and root planing necessary?Before your dental cleaning, our hygienist will measure the depth of your gum pockets, which is the amount of space between your teeth and gums. Infected gums pull away from teeth, reducing the level of support that your teeth have. Measurements exceeding 3mm is an indication of a problem, that if ignored can have severe repercussions. Scaling and root planing can restore the health of your gums, giving you a healthier mouth.
For more information, or if you'd like to schedule an appointment, please give us a call at (503) 765-7300.