Have you noticed that your gums have been swollen lately? Do you experience painful chewing even when eating soft foods? You may have excess plaque buildup, which can also be a sign of gum disease.
Swollen or bleeding gums, painful chewing, bad breath that doesn’t go away even after brushing, and a receding gum line are all signs of plaque buildup. When this occurs, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your dentist so the plaque can be removed using a process called scaling.
During your routine appointment, your dentist or hygienist will scrape your teeth to get rid of the plaque that’s on the surface of your teeth. Scaling is quite similar, but it goes a little bit deeper into the gum line.
Everybody has at least a little bit of plaque build-up due to the tiny food particles, acids, and sugars that stick to the thin layer of saliva covering your teeth. Because the bacteria that lives in plaque can cause tooth decay and gum disease, it’s important to have it routinely removed. When you have excess plaque, your dentist will perform scaling or root planing to avoid the onset of gum disease.
Now, if you have been experiencing a little pink in the sink, there’s no need to panic. Take a look at your gums the next time you brush (which is hopefully at least twice a day). Check to see that your gums are tight around your teeth. If so, then they’re working to keep plaque out and away from your teeth. If gum disease has started to set in, then the tissue around your teeth will loosen and deeper pockets will begin to form. When this happens, those pockets fill with – you guessed it – plaque.
What to expect during your scaling appointment
Once you’ve arrived at the office for your scaling appointment, your dentist will most likely proceed in one of two ways. If your dentist prefers to use handheld tools, he or she will use a metal tool called a dental scaler or curette. The dental scaler is inserted beneath the gum line to remove the plaque that your toothbrush can’t reach. If your dentist prefers to use an ultrasonic device, he or she will then use a tool with a vibrating metal tip that simultaneously sprays cool water while the tip chips away at the tartar.
Depending on the severity of the plaque build-up, your dentist may also perform root planing. Designed to clean the surface of the tooth’s root, planing is similar to scaling. When your dentist performs root planing, he or she is making the root of your tooth smoother so gums can reattach properly.
Why is scaling important?
Scaling, which is not as painful as it sounds, is a way to maintain a cleaner mouth and prevent future plaque build-up. Though it’s not anyone’s favorite past-time to go to the dentist to have this procedure performed, it will help you maintain a healthy mouth for longer. It will also serve as a way to prevent gum disease from fully developing, which is vital.
If you believe you have excessive plaque buildup and are in the Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha, and Robins area, be sure to schedule an appointment with Joyner Dental Arts today. Our staff specializes in periodontal treatment as well as gum disease prevention. We’d love to help you restore your smile to full health.