Dental scaling and polishing is the removal of plaque and tartar deposits built up on the teeth and the polishing of the smooth surfaces of the teeth. This procedure is conducted during routine cleaning (prophylaxis) at a visit to the dentist.
What is it?
Dental scaling and polishing are procedures that take place during a regular visit to the dentist for prophylaxis. Scaling is a non-surgical procedure of removing dental plaque and calculus on the teeth. A slow speed hand tool polishes teeth to make them shiny and smooth. These procedures are useful for anyone but particularly useful to those with periodontal disease.
What should I do to prepare?
There are no special preparations required for this procedure. It is recommended to practice and maintain healthy oral hygiene habits.
What happens during the process?
During dental scaling and polishing, there are a few different instruments used for various purposes. Often, ultrasonic devices produce ticklish vibrations that will be used first to loosen large tartar deposits.Then, hand instruments are used to remove smaller tartar deposits by scraping with moderate pressure. Finally, polishing is done at a slow pace with a soft, motorized tool and a special toothpaste.
What are the risks and potential complications?
Despite the importance of scaling and polishing for the health of one’s teeth, there are several known risks or effects to be aware of from this procedure. These risks include having gum recession, swollen gums, tooth sensitivity, root cavity, root bleeding, tender gums, and eating restrictions. These effects are due to the need for removal of deposits on the teeth, which may require a lot of scraping. The procedure itself does not pose much risk and is beneficial to have performed to prevent worse effects from occurring.
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