Tooth Cleaning

Keeping a good oral hygiene is not only important to keep your teeth free from cavities and infection, but it is also equally important in maintaining one’s general well being. While most dentists lay stress on the fact that brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day, along with a judicial use of a mouthwash can, not only ensure that you have shiny white teeth, most people are unable to properly look after their oral health, generally out of laziness or a lack of concern regarding dental hygiene. If brushing is discontinued for a few days, a thick layer of food and bacterial debris develops on the surface of teeth, known as the dental plaque. With the passage of time, this converts into a hard calcified layer, the calculus. The plaque and calculus can serve as ideal growth media for the harmful bacteria, and can cause gingival irritation and infection. In these conditions, the dentist has to remove the layer of plaque and calculus that has been deposited on the teeth. This procedure is known as tooth cleaning.

How Is Tooth Cleaning Performed?
Tooth cleaning procedures involve two phases; the first phase is the removal of plaque and calculus from the teeth, while the other involves polishing them once the procedure has been performed.

  • Scaling – nowadays, dentist use ultrasonic scaling equipment for this purpose. It generates very fine vibrations at ultrasonic speeds. These vibrations are able to remove the firmly attached calculus and plaque from the teeth. It can take a while to completely clean all the surfaces of teeth.
  • Polishing – since tooth cleaning leaves behind a roughened tooth surface, it needs to be polished so as to prevent re-attachment of bacteria. The dentist polishes the teeth by attaching various polishing cups on the dental hand piece. Another advantage of polishing is the shiny esthetic appearance of the teeth.
  • Fluoride Application – since there are chances that the teeth may become sensitive for a few days, the dentist usually applies a layer of fluoride varnish on the teeth. This prevents the patient from having any transient sensitivity to hot or cold foods after this procedure

What to Expect After This Procedure?

As discussed earlier, patients can expect slight sensitivity of teeth as irritation of the gums. In addition, bleeding from the gums can also be expected for a few days following this procedure. However, the sensitivity, bleeding as well as irritation disappear after a few days. using a fluoride toothpaste along with a fluoride containing mouthwash have been shown to accelerate the healing as well as reducing tooth sensitivity and discomfort.

When to Seek Help?

It is advisable to seek expert help in case the bleeding from your gums does not stop, even after the passage of a week after the procedure, or if the sensitivity of the teeth does not go away. However, generally due to the simplicity of the procedure, complications arise very rarely.


No doubt this procedure is extremely helpful in the removal of plaque and calculus, it can certainly not be considered as an alternative to regular tooth brushing and flossing.

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Gingival Sculpting and Contouring

Many people are unhappy about the appearance of their gums, since they are attached too low, or too high on the surface of teeth. This is because, whenever they smile, they expose either too much or too little of their gums. A good news for these people is that, by using the latest techniques in cosmetic dentistry, the attachment of the gums can easily modified. This technique is known as gingival sculpting and contouring.

What Can Cause Improper Attachment of the Gums?

Gums that are attached far below their normal level of attachment, are said to have “receded” from their physiological region of attachment, and the process is known as gum recession. This makes the teeth appear longer, and commonly results due to any underlying inflammation of the gums, use of certain medications, and application of excessive force while brushing and certain genetic factors
On the other hand, gums that are attached at a very high place on teeth, make them appear smaller. This condition is scientifically known as gingival hyperplasia. Common reasons for the occurrence of this condition include gingival irritation, as a result of certain medications, hormonal changes as well as vitamin deficiency.

What is done in Gingival Sculpting and Contouring?

Just like an artist creates a beautiful sculpture out of raw material, the dentist surgically detaches the gums from their site of attachment on the teeth, and then repositions them at the required level. In case of gingival enlargement, the excessive gum tissue is removed, while in case of gingival recession, a gum flap is raised, and is re-attached at the optimal position. This procedure is known as gingival grafting.
Apart from sculpting, recon touring of the gingival margins is also performed in order to improve the gum line as well as the smile. Recontouring is performed so as to make the gingival margins as close to natural appearance and esthetic as possible. At the day of appointment, the dentist first numbs your gums by administering a suitable local anesthetic. Afterwards, recontouring or sculpting is performed, either through surgical procedures, or by using a specially designed laser. In case of the laser treatment, very minor discomfort can be expected, and involves no or minimal bleeding, and therefore, need for suturing.

Benefits of Gingival Sculpting and Recontouring

  • Safe – since the procedure involves minimal surgical intervention, especially in the case of laser treatment, it can be considered highly safe.
  • Minimal Risk of Infection – the laser by itself sterilizes the area of operation, thereby minimizing the chances of an infection.
  • Less Time Consuming – can be performed in a single sitting
  • Improvement in Quality of Life – as a direct consequence of improving the smile, gingival sculpting and contouring leads to a significant improvement in the patient’s social, personal as well as work life


Risks and Drawbacks of Gingival Sculpting and Recontouring

  • Infection – as discussed earlier, there are minimal chances of development of an infection through this procedure, however, infection can still occur in rare cases. It is therefore important to consult a dentist who is qualified in performing this procedure
  • High Cost – despite the marvelous results of this procedure, its high cost can be limiting factor for many prospective patients

The Final Verdict

Keeping in view the immense improvement in the quality of life as well as confidence observed after performing this procedure on patients who require gingival surgery, this procedure can be safely recommended for people who are having gum problems. in fact, the benefits reaped from this procedure outweigh its drawbacks, especially its high cost.

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