Preventive Dentistry: Scaling and Polishing

Prevention of dental problems through appropriate care or using oral care-related procedures is called preventive dentistry. Along with personal care, preventive dentistry is aimed at preventing long-term dental problems. The application of preventive dentistry at an early age enhances dental health for a lifetime; however, the techniques are equally effective in adulthood and minimize the extent of dental problems.

Tooth decay and gum diseases primarily cause teeth loss. The oral cavity is filled with microbial flora. Under normal conditions, the bacteria regulate the oral environment and maintain physiology. However, external factors may disrupt this balance causing gum- and teeth-related problems.

When the proportion of bacteria increases, they form a thin film on the teeth surface. This colourless and sticky film is called plaque, which accumulates on the teeth. Depending on the extent of plaque deposition, the teeth colour varies from yellow to brown. The plaque hardens to form tartar or calculus. Plaque deposition and tartar formation vary among individuals.

Plaque formation fosters bacterial survival, thus exposing teeth to further damage. Plaque build-up usually starts 4–5 hours after brushing teeth. Hence, regular cleaning is essential to avoid the plaque from sticking to your teeth.

Scaling is a technique for tartar removal. This nonsurgical procedure cleanses teeth and removes plaque below the gum line. Scaling can be performed manually using hand-held tools or using ultrasound. Under manual removal, the dentists remove plaque using a scaler and curette. The shape of these tools complements that of the teeth curves and hence allows for easier movement between them. Scaling using ultrasound breaks down large tartar pieces into small removable particles through vibrations. Water sprays flush away the particles simultaneously. The tools are blunt to avoid any scratches or scars and are perfectly safe. Some patients experience a tingling sensation or feel ticklish as the ultrasonic instrument moves across the teeth. In such conditions, inform your dentist immediately to avoid discomfort.

Polishing is done to prevent plaque from accumulating on teeth. This procedure is usually performed after scaling to protect teeth from plaque accumulation. A prophy cup is used for polishing teeth surface. It comprises a rubber cup and a prophy paste that remove plaque and stains, leaving teeth in its natural colour and form.

Sometimes a dentist may choose to include fluoride treatment post scaling and polishing. This treatment is performed to strengthen the weakened teeth because of bacterial acid action. Also, fluoride provides the essential minerals lost to plaque and acids.

Taken together, scaling and polishing is a painless procedure. In extreme cases with poor gums or any other dental condition, a local anaesthetic will be applied which ceases pain and ensures relief. The entire procedure lasts for a couple of hours; however, the duration depends on the extent of removal. In most cases, the treatment is completed in one visit.

Scaling and polishing are part of the preventive dental techniques aimed at protecting teeth from damage. Plaque build-up can be easily prevented through rinsing your mouth after every meal, followed by brushing twice a day and flossing before bed. These simple habits will effectively protect your teeth from plaque formation.

Scaling and polishing can be availed at our clinic to get rid of tedious and difficult-to-clean plaques. You can also resolve your queries from our team for all your dental concerns. We at the Sterling Dental Clinic look forward to serve you.

Are you neglecting your teeth and gums?

Periodontitis is the inflammation of tissue around teeth. Gums that firmly hold your teeth in place are the soft targets of periodontitis. A periodontal disease initiates as a swelling in the gums called gingivitis, later progressing to periodontitis which is a severe condition.

Poor dental hygiene, hormonal imbalance, family history of dental diseases, and other disorders can cause periodontitis. Preliminary signs of periodontitis include red, tender, and swollen gums; bad breath; shift in biting patterns; gaps in teeth; and loose or shifting teeth.

Gingivitis is often easily neglected. Many of you may have some form of periodontal disease but may well be unaware of this condition. Only a certified periodontist may accurately diagnose and treat this condition.

Periodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry solely dedicated to periodontal disease treatment. Periodontal treatment may be either surgical or nonsurgical.

Dental curettage is a nonsurgical treatment option. This treatment is usually offered at the initial stage of the disease. A curette works its way around your teeth and gums removing harmful plaque and tartar build up. Furthermore, the roots may be planed for smoothening the root surfaces. This ensures the closure of periodontal pockets and filling up of gaps, if any.

Gum graft surgery is targeted at individuals with receding gums. Tissue loss around the gums causes gum receding. This is accompanied by swelling, bleeding, infection, and pain. Furthermore, increased sensitivity of the root and dental caries are other typical symptoms. Gum recession is a gradual process that manifests over a period. Grafting involves transfer of healthy tissue from a different source to facilitate tissue reconstruction.

There are three types of gum graft surgery:

Free gingival graft: In this technique, the donor tissue is usually sourced from the palate and transferred to the affected area. This technique has the most efficient treatment outcome because the donor and recipient tissues are identical in composition. A thin slice of healthy gum tissue is extracted from the palate and placed onto the affected area. Because the graft is completely isolated and free of the donor site, the technique is called free gingival graft. The healing period may vary on an individual basis; however, the average healing period lasts from a couple of weeks to a month.

Connective tissue graft: Connective tissue grafts are common in the treatment of exposed roots. The technique is similar to that of free gingival graft, and the palate tissue is the primary donor site. Connective tissue grafting involves transfer of a thick section of palate tissue comprising the primary and specialized tissues. The technique is highly intensive, requiring sharp surgical skills and care from the surgeon’s end. The success of this technique is highly dependent on graft acceptance, vascular growth around the recipient tissue, wound healing, superior surgical skills, and postoperative care. The advantages of connective tissue grafts are superior root coverage, lesser trauma and postoperative complications, and enhanced aesthetic appeal owing to high compatibility and similarity with the original gum tissue colour and appearance.

Pedicle graft: In a pedicle graft, a part of the donor tissue is slit and extended such that the recipient site is in contact with the original donor site. Thus, the recipient tissue is ensured of all the nutrition and the vascular support from the donor tissue. Moreover, this technique is called soft-tissue grafting because it involves the sharing of soft tissue between the gum and teeth. The success rate of this technique is high because the graft is attached to the parent tissue, thus receiving uninterrupted nutrition and blood supply. Hence, tissue regeneration is faster and graft rejection is a rarity. However, the only critical element responsible for the success of this technique is the occurrence of the suitable donor tissue around the affected tooth. Thus, pedicle grafts are feasible only in case of availability of a healthy tissue around the affected tooth.

After the surgery, you may be advised a specific soft food-based diet by your dental expert for ensuring efficient recovery and little damage. You can avail any of these periodontal treatment techniques at our clinic. Based on a preliminary examination, we can devise a suitable treatment option for you at your convenience and at no extra cost. After all, ensuring your comfort and satisfaction is our prime motto. Click here to book an appointment at the Sterling Dental Clinic or call us at +91-11-26152930 / 26152999.