Regular visits to the dentist always mean having your doctor check your teeth and gums and generally clean them. Plaque and build-up material on the surface of the teeth can be removed with dental instruments and having good cleaning routines helps you keep the health of your teeth. In some more severe scenarios, where teeth and gums require more attention, scaling of teeth might be required.

Teeth scaling is one of the procedures used in modern dentistry and it helps patients with developed gum disease. When plaque and other material that builds up in the mouth cannot be extracted with regular cleaning techniques – scaling can help. Along with root planning, scaling is often referred to as deep cleaning. This technique allows for space beneath the gum line to be cleaned thoroughly, helping patients with aching gums. If plaque and other deposits are left untreated in these gumline pockets, they can cause serious problems.

When do you need scaling?

As we constantly eat, drink and use our teeth to process food so does the flow of saliva, bacteria, and proteins in our mouths cause plaque buildup. There is always a natural, thin layer covering our teeth and gums at all times and the problems arise when particles such as food, sugar, and acids stick to it and form plaque. Bacteria found in the buildup can either damage the tooth and lead to decay or attack gums resulting in gum disease.

In healthy patients, gums will grip the teeth tightly and will not allow plaque to enter the pockets and damage the teeth. Patients that have developed gum disease, on the other hand, will have deeper pockets as gums are below the gumline.

In case you experience bad breath, constant plaque build-up, aching and bleeding gums, and other chronic ailments, tooth scaling procedure might help. Typically, 4 millimeters is the threshold, so if your pockets are of this size or larger – your dentist may recommend scaling.

Scaling and root planing procedures

Scaling is a procedure in which a dentist removes plaque from your teeth below the gumline. There are two types of tooth scaling procedures in use today, depending on the instrument used:

  1. Classic dental scale or curette 
  2. Ultrasonic instrument

Classic dental scale or a curette is a metal instrument used to remove plaque, shaped so it can reach below the gumline efficiently. Your dentist will manually check and scrape the plaque with this tool.

Another option is an ultrasonic instrument with a vibrating metal tip. The tip itself will chip the buildup away and the water splashing from the tool helps to remove everything nicely. 

In case that you are a candidate for scaling, your dentists will commonly opt for root planning as well. Much like scaling, root planning also requires delicate cleaning and tampering with the surface of the teeth, but in this case around the root. Once the surface of the teeth’s root has been smoothed out, gums will reattach properly and fill in the existing gaps.

Is scaling of teeth painful?

Scaling and root planning may bring some discomfort, especially when a patient’s gums are aching. Local anesthesia can help in numbing the tissue before the procedure.

So does scaling and root planing hurt? The answer is procedures can bring some discomfort, which can be alleviated with anesthesia. Consult our experts about the procedure, our experience, and light-touched approach guarantees the best results without major discomfort.