Dental Techniques 101: Scaling And Planing

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As you hopefully already realize, seeing your dentist for regular cleanings is one of the most important things you can do for the sake of your teeth. Yet few people possess an understanding of all the various cleaning techniques utilized. If you would like to improve your knowledge of common dental procedures, read on This article will provide a useful overview of the cleaning technique known as scaling and planing.

The Basics

As its name would imply, scaling and planing consists of two distinct techniques. That said, in almost all cases the two are performed within the span of a single cleaning visit. Scaling involves the removal of plaque, calculus, and tartar. This removal is accomplished using a handheld metal implement known as a scaler. Scaling specifically targets those areas that lie between the crown of a tooth and the gum line.

Planing is generally undertaken immediately after scaling has been completed. This technique involves manually smoothing out the surfaces of a tooth's root. This acts to reduce the amounts of future plaque accumulation, since plaque will have a more difficult time adhering to a well smoothed surface. Planing also performs the secondary function of scrubbing away any plaque that managed to escape the scaling phase.

Importance Of Scaling And Planing

Many people mistakenly assume that, so long as they brush and floss on a regular basis, scaling and planing will be unnecessary. As a result, such people tend to put off regular dental cleanings. This attitude will ultimately prove detrimental. That's because it is very difficult to prevent plaque from accumulating in certain important places—like the surface of a tooth that sits beneath the gums.

Those who ignore the need for scaling and planing often end up with a number of problems. For one thing, you will soon begin to experience irritated, itchy, or inflamed gums. As the plaque continues to accumulate, the gums will have a harder and harder time retaining their grip on your teeth. Ultimately, they will recede, thus exposing even more vulnerable sections of the roots. If scaling and planing are avoided for long enough, you will likely develop some form of gum disease and/or tooth decay.

Side Effects

It's natural to be a little nervous about scaling and planing. Discomfort during the procedure is a common phenomenon, though it is important to realize that such discomfort is usually quite minimal. Likewise, you may experience some sensitivity in the days following a scaling and planing session. Using a special sensitivity toothpaste is generally all it takes to lessen such discomfort until it has had time to pass entirely. 

For more information, contact local professionals like Smile City.