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Scale on Teeth: Key Insights & Procedure Overview

Updated: Mar 3

Why Do I Need Scaling?


Scaling is an important part of maintaining good oral health for several reasons:


1. Preventing Gum Disease:

One of the main purposes of scaling is to avoid gum disease, also referred to as periodontal disease. Gum disease develops when there is an accumulation of plaque and tartar along the gumline, resulting in inflammation and infection of the gums. Neglecting treatment can allow gum disease to advance to more critical stages, resulting in permanent harm to both the gums and the supportive structures of the teeth.

2. Removing Plaque and Tartar:

Despite regular brushing and flossing, it's common for plaque and tartar to accumulate on the teeth over time, especially in hard-to-reach areas. Scaling helps remove these stubborn deposits, reducing the risk of cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.

3. Addressing Gum Recession:

When tartar buildup extends below the gumline, it can contribute to gum recession, where the gum tissue pulls away from the teeth, exposing the roots. Scaling can help clean the root surfaces and prevent further recession, reducing tooth sensitivity and improving gum health.

4. Improving Oral Hygiene:

Scaling provides a clean slate for maintaining good oral hygiene habits. After scaling, it's easier to brush and floss effectively, as there are fewer plaque and tartar deposits to contend with. This can lead to healthier teeth and gums in the long run.

5. Preserving Overall Health:

Research has shown that gum disease is linked to various systemic health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory infections. By addressing gum disease through scaling, you're not only protecting your oral health but also potentially reducing your risk of developing these other health issues.


In summary, scaling is essential for keeping your teeth and gums healthy, preventing gum disease, and maintaining overall well-being. If your dentist recommends scaling as part of your dental care routine, it's important to follow through to ensure the best possible outcomes for your oral health.

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What Happens During Scaling? Procedure Details


Scaling is a dental procedure performed by a dental hygienist or dentist to remove plaque and tartar buildup from the teeth and gumline. Here's what typically happens during the scaling process:



Before beginning the scaling procedure, the dental professional will conduct a thorough assessment of your oral health. This may involve examining your teeth and gums visually and using dental instruments to measure the depth of any periodontal pockets.

Ultrasonic Scaling:

The scaling process often starts with ultrasonic scaling, which uses a handheld device that emits ultrasonic vibrations. The device has a small, metal tip that vibrates at a high frequency to break up and dislodge plaque and tartar from the teeth and gumline. A stream of water is also used to wash away the debris as it is loosened.

Manual Scaling:

After the initial removal of larger deposits with the ultrasonic scaler, the dental professional will use hand instruments called scalers and curettes to manually remove any remaining plaque and tartar. These instruments have sharp, curved ends that allow the dental professional to scrape away buildup from the tooth surfaces and beneath the gumline.

Root Planing:

In certain instances, particularly when there are indications of gum disease or significant periodontal pockets, root planing might be carried out alongside scaling. Root planing entails the refinement of the tooth root surfaces to eliminate bacterial toxins and facilitate gum healing.

Final Inspection:

Once scaling and root planing are complete, the dental professional will inspect the teeth and gumline to ensure that all plaque and tartar have been thoroughly removed. They may also polish the teeth to remove surface stains and smooth the tooth surfaces.

Patient Education:

Finally, the dental professional may provide instructions on proper oral hygiene techniques, including brushing, flossing, and the use of antimicrobial mouthwash. They may also offer guidance on dietary habits and lifestyle factors that can contribute to oral health.


Overall, scaling is a critical component of preventive dental care, helping to keep your teeth and gums healthy and free of disease. If you have any concerns about the scaling process or its benefits, be sure to discuss them with your dentist or dental hygienist.

Aftercare Tips


After undergoing a scaling procedure, it's essential to follow proper aftercare practices to promote healing and maintain oral health. Here are some helpful tips to follow after scaling:


Avoid Eating Immediately:

After scaling, it's best to avoid eating or drinking for at least 30 minutes to allow your mouth to recover from the procedure. This helps prevent irritation and allows any minor bleeding to stop.

Be Gentle with Your Teeth:

After undergoing scaling, it is recommended to handle tooth brushing and flossing with care. Opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush and employ gentle, circular movements to prevent additional irritation to your gums.

Utilize a Fluoride Mouth Rinse:

After scaling, employ a fluoride mouth rinse to bolster your tooth enamel and deter tooth decay. Opt for a mouthwash endorsed by your dentist to ensure optimal efficacy.

Utilize a Fluoride Mouth Rinse

Stay Hydrated:

Drink plenty of water after scaling to help flush out any remaining debris and promote healing. Avoid sugary or acidic beverages that can irritate your teeth and gums.

Avoid Smoking:

If you smoke, try to avoid smoking for at least 24 hours after scaling. Smoking can interfere with the healing process and increase your risk of developing gum disease and other oral health issues.

Follow Your Dentist's Recommendations:

Your dentist or dental hygienist may provide specific instructions for aftercare based on your individual needs. Be sure to follow their recommendations carefully to ensure optimal healing and long-term oral health.

Schedule Regular Dental Cleanings:

To preserve the outcomes of your scaling treatment and hinder any potential accumulation of plaque and tartar, it is advisable to arrange routine dental cleanings with your dentist or dental hygienist. These appointments play a crucial role in maintaining the health of your teeth and gums, preventing the onset of oral diseases.


By following these aftercare tips and maintaining good oral hygiene habits, you can support the healing process after scaling and keep your teeth and gums healthy for years to come. If you experience any unusual symptoms or have concerns about your oral health after scaling, don't hesitate to contact your dentist for further guidance.

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