Scaling and polishing is a general cleaning service done every 4 – 6 months in order to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy!
Why is it done?
Whether you eat to live or live to eat, every drink or food you consume has bacteria that stick to your teeth and gums within 48 hours! This build up of bacteria also known as plaque and tartar can cause gum disease to manifest most commonly as “bleeding gums”.
Are bleeding gums normal?
No, bleeding gums are not normal.
Bleeding gums are the first sign of gum disease known as gingivitis. Gingivitis is basically a bodily response to the unwanted bacteria that is trapped for prolonged periods of time (more than 48 hours) due to the lack of personal and professional cleaning!
Is gum disease curable?
The main difference between the types of gum disease is that gingivitis is reversible, but periodontal disease is not. Gingivitis affects the soft tissues, ie the pink meaty gums you see. Periodontal disease on the other hand, affected the soft tissues (gums) as well as the hard tissues ie the bone underneath that hold your teeth in place.
Gum disease is a silent disease and pain is usually only experienced when things are severe and too much bone has been lost, causing teeth to become loose and wobbly or flared with gaps.
How does regular cleaning help?
Scaling and polishing ensure that all the plaque and debris that we cannot reach on our own, is regularly, professionally removed to maintain a healthy oral cavity!
A big plus is that teeth can look whiter/cleaner since coffee and tea stains are polished off during this process.
The biggest upside to all of this is that you would probably stand a better chance at having all your teeth to a lovely ripe old age.
How will scaling feel?
Scaling is the mechanical process of removing plaque of all kinds hard and soft from the crevices of your teeth and gums. We use hand and ultrasonic instruments. Hand instruments are specifically shaped for an accurate reach under the gums to scrape out any unwanted bacteria laden dirt that is trapped. Ultrasonic instruments on the other hand are powered by sonic vibrations which produce a humming sound and pressurized water to give a good painless flush out of bacteria. This procedure can be done under local anesthetic for tough areas that are more inflamed or just for a peace of mind.
The benefit of scaling is to produce a smooth tooth surface that gums can happily attach themselves to, to keep teeth firmly rooted in their positions.
The healthier your gums, the more painless the process. Why? Because healthy gums are tight and bouncy, so when a scaling is done, it feels like water and a light vibration rather than blood, pain and drowning frustration.
What is polishing for?
Dental polishing is to mechanically remove external stains picked up from dark coloured foods and drinks such as curries and red wine.
Two main ways to go about dental polishing is using a cup and polishing paste, similarly to a automated shoe shine buffer. The second way would be to use a pressurized water jet that spurts out polishing power which contains baking soda that helps to absorb and remove stubborn stains.
Polishing can help to uncover white teeth buried under caffeine stains but it does not whiten teeth.
What can I expect during the appointment?
A scaling and polishing procedures takes about 20 – 30 minutes. Costs $80 – $120 before GST.
It goes in this sequence: Ultrasonic scaling – flossing – hand scaling – polishing, then presto, job well done.
If it is your first visit or there are multiple fillings, we routinely take dental full mouth xrays once every two years for a complete check up to avoid any blind-spots such as decay starting within the tooth that the naked eye cannot see.