The teeth help us bite and chew food, smile, pronounce words, and perform many other oral functions. Every day, they are put through a lot of unpleasant conditions that could upset the oral health considerably. One such issue is the accumulation of plaque and tartar on the surface of the teeth and roots. They contain thousands of bacteria that release harmful acids and cause oral infections, gum diseases, cavities, etc.
No matter how well you brush and floss, at least a few bacteria tend to get left behind on the teeth and soft tissues of the mouth. Over time, they keep multiplying quickly, which results in bad breath. The microbes adhere to the surface of the teeth as a transparent layer, which is called plaque. When plaque stays on the teeth for a long time, it turns into a hard, dark, sticky substance called tartar or calculus.
What’s the solution?
Plaque and tartar get accumulated on the ‘hard-to-reach’ parts of the mouth over time despite brushing and flossing regularly. They are often seen on the rear surfaces of the frontal teeth, in the intersection between two teeth, on the posterior teeth, occlusal grooves, etc. Removing them would require professional dental assistance, which is why we suggest patients go for oral cleaning sessions at least once every six months.
What is oral cleaning?
Oral cleaning comprises two procedures, namely, scaling and root planing. They are procedures that help to get rid of the tartar deposits from the surface of the teeth and the roots, respectively. They are mildly invasive, meaning the natural tissues of the mouth wouldn’t have to be extracted, nor would it cause a lot of pain.
How are the procedures performed?
The dentist will use a hand-held scaling device for this purpose. The device has a metal tip that vibrates at ultrasonic frequencies. The teeth will be cleaned using a jet of water, after which the scaling device will be used to dislodge the tartar deposits. The debris removed by the procedure will be washed away. It would only take a few minutes to be completed.
As for root planing, the scaling tip would be inserted in between the tooth roots and the gums. Since this may be painful, we would administer local anesthesia before starting the procedure. Root planing also involves smoothening out the root surfaces so that the accumulation of microbes on their surface is prevented.
Both these procedures are known to be very helpful in preventing the chances of developing cavities. In individuals who have gum diseases, scaling, and root planing provides considerable relief and helps to reduce the severity of the condition.
Please schedule an appointment online or call us at (408) 371-1070 to have a consultation with any of our Los Gatos Dental Group dentists, and we will be happy to help!