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.