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Why Did My Dentist Recommended Teeth Scaling?

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Did you recently go into your Toronto dental office for a cleaning and leave with teeth scaling? Teeth scaling in Toronto is actually a very common procedure that may be required when patients show signs of gingivitis or early-stage gum disease.

While teeth scaling may sound like an invasive procedure, it’s actually more of a deep clean and is perfectly safe.

Why Teeth Scaling?

With standard dental cleaning, your hygienist focuses their attention at and above the gum line, cleaning and removing any visible plaque build-up around the gums and from in-between your teeth.  Teeth scaling, on the other hand, goes beneath the gum line.

Between the tooth and gums is a small pocket. Healthy gums form a tight seal around your teeth, preventing bacteria and plaque from accumulating below the gum line. However, when gums become inflamed due to gingivitis or early-stage gum disease, plaque and bacteria can begin to collect within these pockets. Left unchecked, this bacterial build-up can have serious health consequences and may eventually lead to severe gum disease and periodontitis.

How is the Procedure Performed?

With modern dental tools, teeth scaling in Toronto is virtually indistinguishable from regular cleaning. Using a combination of ultrasonic and manual tools, your hygienist will remove all the plaque from around and then beneath the gumline.

In some cases, a second step, known as root planing, is also required. Here your hygienist will clean deeper, getting right to the root of the tooth to remove any plaque and smoothing out rough areas. Root planing prevents bacteria and plaque from re-adhering to surfaces beneath the gumline, enabling your gums to heal and restore the tight seal around your teeth.

What Are the Signs I Need Teeth Scaling?

During your initial examination, your dentist will use a manual dental tool to check the depth of the pockets around your gums. If they are deeper than 3mm, your dentist may recommend a tooth scaling procedure. Other times hardened bacterial build-up beneath the gums may show up on x-rays, which would again lead to a recommendation for teeth scaling.

It is also possible that you have been experiencing symptoms of gingivitis or early-stage gum disease without knowing what they were. If any of the following symptoms of gum disease sound familiar, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

  • Bleeding gums
  • Swelling along the gumline
  • Tender, red gums
  • Pain or blood while brushing or flossing
  • Receding gumline
  • Discoloured gums
  • Tooth pain
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Loose teeth

When caught early, gingivitis and early-stage gum disease are fairly easy to treat. Teeth scaling and root planing, combined with continued good oral hygiene, is often enough to ward off any further deterioration. If gum disease is a concern, do not delay in booking a dental cleaning.

What Happens After Teeth Scaling?

Teeth scaling in Toronto is a non-invasive procedure. Your appointment may extend over a couple of hours depending on the amount of plaque that needs to be removed, but you will be able to leave as soon as the procedure is done.

Because teeth scaling goes deeper than a traditional cleaning, you may experience some tenderness around the gums immediately following the procedure. This is perfectly normal, but you may want to avoid tough, chewy foods until the discomfort subsides. If the pain is too much, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever, like Acetaminophen.

Oral care after teeth scaling is important. For the first few days after the procedure, you will want to brush more gently than usual, but you can return to normal afterward.

If by your next appointment, your gums are looking pink and healthy again, you will be able to transition back to regular cleanings. Otherwise, your dentist may recommend another teeth scaling procedure.