When you visit the dentist in San Diego, there is a chance that if you have plaque buildup or gum disease you will need scaling. This is a process that goes beyond a regular cleaning, but beyond that, many patients are unaware of what exactly scaling means.
Simply put, scaling is a way for your dentist in the La Jolla area to address gum disease by cleaning below the gum line to remove excess plaque buildup. Scaling is sometimes combined with root planing in what is commonly referred to as deep cleaning.
Patients require scaling when gum disease has begun and the tissue no longer fits around the tooth tightly, allowing plaque to enter. The loose tissue allows for deeper pockets which can fill with plaque and cause other problems, including bad breath. Gums generally attach to the tooth one to three millimeters below the gum line, if yours attach any lower, your dentist in the Del Mar area could recommend scaling.
There are two ways of scaling that your dentist can employ. One is using a dental scaler and curette which is a thin metal tool that is inserted below the gum line. Your dentist can then scrape away plaque that you can’t reach by merely brushing and flossing. Another option for scaling is using ultrasonic equipment. This instrument has a vibrating metal tip that chips away at plaque while a spray of cool water washes out the pocket.
After scaling, your dentist in San Diego will most likely perform the procedure of root planing. This is a process that cleans even deeper to address problems with the tooth’s root. It is similar to scaling, but aims to smoothen out the root so the gum can reattach.
There may be some discomfort associated with scaling and root planing, especially if your gums are sensitive. Fortunately, your dentist can administer a local anesthetic to numb the tissue. Typically, scaling takes more than one visit to the office, with your dentist focusing on one part of your mouth at a time. In some cases, you can discuss having it all done in one visit if you are nervous and would like to get it all done as quickly as possible.
Your mouth may be a little sensitive after scaling and your dentist may even advise you to use desensitizing toothpaste for a short while as well as a special mouthwash that will help your gums stay clean.
If you have any further questions about scaling or would like to schedule an appointment, call Solana Family Dental at (858) 345-4497.