What is a Dental Scaling?

You brush, you floss and you visit the dentist multiple times a year. In fact, given your personal emphasis on oral health, you could be a spokesperson for Colgate by now. However, even with this flawless routine, you find that your dentist still tells you that you have an excess amount of plaque that just can’t seem to be scrubbed away. Instead of spending hours secluded in the bathroom with a new high-end toothbrush trying to reverse the problem, you may be in need of a deep dental cleaning or scaling procedure which can be completed at your local dental office.

Here, James Kerns DMD, a reputable and experienced dentist in Plantation, Florida, explains the signs that indicate to your dentist that a scaling may be needed, as well as what the procedure will feel like for you.

What is a scaling procedure? Scaling is an effective way for your dentist to clean deep into your gums and underneath your teeth where plaque that is unreachable by a toothbrush and floss builds up.

What are signs that you need this procedure? According to Kerns, there are really no definitive signs that you can look for to indicate that you need a dental scaling. However the problems caused by a build-up of plaque that can eventually cause periodontal problems and gum disease include bleeding gums and bad breath. The only way to really determine that this procedure needs to be done is to have an oral exam, though if its been more than a year since your last visit to the dentist and you’ve never had this procedure done before, than the likelihood that you will need a scaling is significantly higher.

How is the dental scaling completed? The procedure is essentially very similar to a spring cleaning that you would conduct in your home, Kern says. Even though you’ve been regularly brushing your teeth, sometimes your teeth and gums just need a more thorough cleaning than you can provide yourself at home. The scaling will take two separate appointments to complete, each of which will take about 45 minutes and is administered under local anesthesia so that you don’t feel a thing. First, the right side of your mouth is cleaned, he says, and then about a week later you return to the office to have the left side of your mouth done as well. There is a lot to be done during each appointment, Kerns adds, but your dentist won’t stop until the area is immaculate, which makes your future appointments and home cleanings much easier.

How can the patient prepare prior to the appointment? As Kerns explains, there is very little that you need to do prior to coming in for your appointment. Before moving forward with the procedure, the dental staff at Kerns’ office explains to each patient what he can expect and what will be achieved during the scaling. And, because of the technique and the anesthesia that is used, you will feel little to no discomfort while your mouth is being worked on, and your post-op will be comfortable as well.

It’s important, adds Kerns, that if your dentist recommends the procedure to you that you have the dental scaling completed as soon as possible so that you can get your oral health back on track.

*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.

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