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Tooth Scaling – Why, How and When?

Dental health constitutes a prominent place in our overall general health. Irrespective of your age, healthy teeth should be your possession. Accurate dental hygiene can help keeping your teeth in right shape, size and great health for a lifetime. One such procedure for maintaining a great dental health is scaling, which keeps your gums firm and fit. In this process the infected deposits i.e. calculus, plaque, and stains are discarded from the tooth surfaces. This branch of medical science is also medically termed as Periodontics. Such dental condition, if not treated on time, can lead to infection and feeble gums and also pyorrhoea and loss of tooth. The remedy to this condition is scaling, which is a routine and safe process without causing any damage to the surface of your tooth.

Tooth ScalingWhy Scaling is Done

Regular cleaning of teeth by your dentist is necessary to getting rid of calculus and tartar, which is often formed even if you are religiously brushing and flossing your teeth. This would require some professional interference for teeth cleaning i.e. scaling and polishing. Scaling is a widely acclaimed non-surgical procedure to remove infected deposits from the surface of your teeth. In case the plaque is left on the teeth it leads to periodontal disease. In this disease the pocket between the gum and tooth becomes deeper. Such situation is the breeding ground for anaerobic bacteria and bacteria begin to grow quickly, harm more gums and begin assimilating the bones, supporting tooth. This loosens the tooth gradually. Saving such tooth becomes more complicated at advanced state. Surgery is performed on the gums to form healthy tissues around the tooth.

Procedure of Scaling

The periodontist facilitates specialized devices to gently and painlessly remove this debris without harming your teeth. The most popular and widely used instruments during the cleaning process are discussed below:

Ultrasonic Instrument

Initially an ultrasonic device is used to make bigger chunks of tartar loose. In this process spraying of a cooling mist of water is also done to drain away debris and maintain the right temperature of the mouth and teeth. This instrument emits a humming or often whistling sound of high pitch.

The tip of this instrument is curved and rounded too and is constantly moving on and around the teeth. It is advisable to indicate your dentist if the sensations are unbearable to allow them to adjust with the setting appropriately.

Fine Hand Devices

After the larger chunks or plaque is broken, your periodontist will switch to more delicate and smaller hand tools often known as curette and scalers, in medical parlance, to sweep off the remaining deposits and smoothen the surfaces of your teeth. These are curved devices to match with the curves of your teeth. Using these devices tiny tartar debris is removed by minutely scraping it off applying gentle pressure.


After getting rid of all the plaque of your teeth the surfaces of teeth now need some smoothening and polishing. This is done using a mild speed hand piece having a soft rubber cup spinning on the end. Prophylaxis paste, special slightly coarse toothpaste, is scooped up into the rubber cup and applied on the teeth giving them a shiny smooth appearance.


Your dentist often also administers fluoride paste on your teeth. It is the final phase of the dental cleaning process. This paste comes in multiple flavors like mint, strawberry, chocolate, cherry, watermelon, Pina colada, which can be fused and matched with different flavor to offer a great taste! This fluoride treatment is used only on the surfaces of your teeth and it should not be swallowed in excess or else it may lead to stomach ache as it is only for treatment purpose.

Fluoride gel or foam is put into small and flexible trays and kept over the teeth for nearly 30 seconds for best results. After this, you would be asked to spit as much fluoride out as you can. This last process of fluoride helps to consolidate the teeth as the acids from dental tartar and plaque must have harmed the tooth surfaces. It is suggested not to eat or drink anything for 30 minutes to help work the fluoride to its optimum on your teeth, yielding better results.

Is it Painful

For majority of people cleaning process of teeth is painless, except some sensations experienced while removing the plaque from the teeth and some feeling of pressure while going through the scraping process. But all these do not cause any such discomfort that is unbearable. The after effects are awesome for a lot of people as they enjoy cleanings and the smooth feeling of their teeth after this clearing process. Some might feel some unusual zingy sensations, but for many these lasts only for a nanosecond.

It is always advisable to let your dentist be informed if any of the process is causing any severe discomfort to you. There are several options available to opt for more enjoyable options.

The Recommended Frequency of Scaling Process

As plaque building is a continuous process, if it is not discarded by brushing within 10-14 hours it may lead to forming of plaque. Under these circumstance frequent periodic scaling becomes necessary and the ideal frequency could be 6 months. The thumb rule indicates that you should have a routine dental check up at an interval of every 6 months. This will enable your dentist to suggest if you require scaling or not. In addition, you can also get correct suggestions the way you should clear your teeth at home. Scaling does not weaken your teeth but protect your gums from diseases, which may lead to bleeding gums and if untreated, may also result in some more severe and extensive gum troubles.

Looking for a licensed Periodontist in Melbourne? Visit Monash Dental Group, We have experience dentist practicing various periodontal disease treatment in Melbourne for the last 20 years.